- UK stocks opened lower on Wednesday as investors continued to fret about a potential second wave of Covid-19 infections as lockdowns ease and data showed the British economy slumping in March.

At 0819, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 62.34 points, or 1.0%, at 5,932.43.

UK gross domestic product shrank 5.8% in March, though that was better than market expectations of a 7.9% contraction.

In corporate news, house builder Taylor Wimpey firmed 1.2% to 147.55p as it announced that it was reopening its show homes and sales centres from next Friday, amid 'stable' housing market conditions.

Rival house builder Crest Nicholson rallied 4.6% to 239.54p, as it prepared for a phased restart of activity on its sites next week.

Plumbing company Ferguson rose 2.2% to 61.00, despite its third-quarter revenue slipping 2.2% following a 15.3% slump in April.

Luxury carmaker Aston Martin reversed 4.3% to 36.4p as it booked deeper losses amid a 60% slide in sales.

Aston Martin said it was on track to start deliveries in the summer.

Software company Sage edged up 0.2% to 656.07p, having booked a 39% rise in first-half profit, driven by a modest rise in revenue and one-off gains from the sale of its payments and Brazilian businesses.

Sage declared an interim dividend of 5.93p, up 2.5% on-year.

Inter-dealer broker TP ICAP firmed 0.3% to 373p as its first-quarter revenue rose 17%, reflecting higher client volumes due to market volatility caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Thermal energy management and pumping specialist Spirax-Sarco Engineering rose 0.4% to £92.96 after its operating profit fell in the first four months of the year.

The company, however, said operating margins remained above 21% due to cost containment actions.

Wealth manager Brewin Dolphin gained 1.7% to 273.5p as it held its interim dividend steady at 4.4p per share, despite reporting a 5.1% fall in profit owing to weaker markets.

Landscape products group Marshalls shed 1.5% to 610.5p on announcing that up to 400 jobs could be impacted by restructuring plans after its sales slumped 27% in the first fourth months of the year.

Cosmetics company Warpaint London dulled 2.4% to 41p as it reported a 63% drop in annual profit and scrapped its final dividend, as a modest rise in sales was tempered by lower margins.

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