StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks opened higher on Tuesday despite a surge in local jobless claims, as investors continued to warm to promising early results from a Covid-19 vaccine trial conducted by Moderna.

At 0820, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 36.05 points, or 0.6%, at 6.084.64.

UK jobless claims jumped 856.5k in April, above market expectations of a 675k rise, though the unemployment rate for the three months through March improved to 3.9%.

Tobacco giant Imperial Brands slumped 5.2% to £15.675 as it cut its dividend by a third and booked a weaker first-half profit, owing to a fall in vaping sales and tobacco volumes.

Food services company Compass fell 3.7% to £11.105 after it launched a £2bn equity fundraise to boost its liquidity and pulled its guidance, having reported lower half-yearly profit.

The placing price was being determined via a bookbuild process, Compass said.

Copper miner Antofagasta dropped 3.0% as it decided to slash its 2019 final dividend to 7.1c per share, down from the 24.4c previously indicated.

Enterprise software company Micro Focus International rallied 7.6% to 454.2p, even as it warned of potential asset writedowns, after its constant currency revenue slumped 11% in the first half of its financial year.

Flooring retailer Topps Tiles dropped 2.4% to 37.1p as it swung to a first-half loss after its revenue slipped due to the Covid-19 crisis and a tough trading environment before the pandemic hit.

Topps Tiles scrapped its interim dividend and said it was unlikely to pay a final dividend, too.

Healthcare services provider UDG Healthcare gained 3.5% to 645p as its interim profit more than doubled, though it warned its performance in the second half would be impacted by the Covid-19 crisis.

Cleaning products provider McBride rallied 12% to 64.27p, having upgraded its annual profit guidance as it continued to experience heightened demand for cleaning products, though off an earlier peak.

Adjusted pre-tax profit for the year through June was expected to be around 15% ahead of currently market expectations, McBride said.

Wind farm investor The Renewables Infrastructure Group shed 1.7% to 125.2p after it launched a share issue to pay down debt and fund potential acquisition opportunities.

New shares in the company would be issued at 120p per share, representing a 5.8% discount to their closing price on Monday.

Rental property and student accommodation focused developer Watkin Jones firmed 3.9% to 156.4p as it reported a 19% rise in first-half profit, but acknowledged the gains were largely made before the Covid-19 crisis hit.

Watkin Jones said it had gradually been able to reopen most of its development sites.

Technology supplier to the gambling and broadcast industries Quixant added 6.5% to 95.82p, having noted positive signs of recovery emerging in global gambling markets. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com