- The FTSE 100 has opened lower as Public Health England approved a new antibody test developed by pharmaceutical company Roche, which it has called 'a very positive development'.

But this followed a warning from the World Health Organization yesterday (13 May) that COVID-19 may never go away, even if a vaccine is discovered.

The flagship FTSE 100 is down 1.6%, or 95.42 points, at 5,808.63 at 08.30am.

Infection prevention and control technology company Byotrol soared 17.8% to 5.55p as it said it expected to report record first-quarter sales after confirming it had secured two new license agreements.

Hargreaves Lansdown has climbed 8.6% to £17.2 as the wealth manager announced its intention to stick with its dividend policy for the 2020 financial year, despite a decline in assets as falling stock markets offset a rise in new business wins, denting growth.

For the four-month period to 30 April 2020, assets under administration fell to £96.7bn from £97.8bn on-year and revenue rose to £190.2m from £159.5m.

3i was buoyed 2.8% to 771p as the company trimmed its dividend after annual returns and net asset value fell.

It said the Covid-19 pandemic had a 'significant impact' on the value of its private equity portfolio.

Pub owner Marston's is 5% lower at 28.5p having agreed £70m of additional liquidity through an increased bank facility.

It also announced that it is planning for no dividends for the financial year 2020, citing the continued uncertainty surrounding the re-opening of the pub sector.

Housebuilder Persimmon headed down 2.1% to £21.1 following the news that its sales offices and show homes in England will reopen on the 15 May.

It reported that in the eight weeks ended 10 May 2020, it had secured 1,351 gross private sales reservations, with a total of 1,300 legal completions being made in the same period.

Sirius Real Estate was buoyed 2.3% to 66.7p after the German business park investor reported that rent and service charge collection was at 98.8% of normal levels in April and confirmed that it intends to maintain its dividend policy of paying at least 65% of funds from operations.

Grainger rose 0.4% to 246.20p after the property company increased its interim dividend as net rental income jumped, but reported that profit fell on lower revenue in the first half of the year.

For the six months ended 31 March 2020, pre-tax profit fell to £49.6m from £54.3m on-year as revenue slipped to £86.9m from £107m, but net rental income rose 27% to £37.0m.

Retailer WH Smith nudged up 0.1% to 917.5p as it warned of a hit to current trading from COVID-19 as the vast majority of its stores at airports and railway stations remain closed, with travel revenue down 91% in April.

But in its interim results for the six months to 29 February 2020, the retailer reported that group revenue was up 7% at £747m, while travel revenue increased 19%.

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