- UK stocks opened higher on Wednesday, led by oil companies, after positive Chinese services data stoked hopes of an economic rebound as lockdowns are eased.

At 0825, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 63.67 points, or 1.0%, at 6,283.81.

Shell and BP rose 2.9% and 2.7%, respectively, amid expectations that a softening of Covid-19 restrictions would spark more demand for transport fuels.

Budget carrier Wizz Air gained 0.8% to £34.52, having more than doubled its annual profit as it carried more passengers on a fast-expanding route network throughout Europe.

Wizz Air has since had to ground most of its fleet but insisted it had the balance sheet wherewithal to ride out the Covid-19 crisis.

Low-cost carrier Ryanair ascended 1.0% to 12.14c, even as it reported a 99.5% plunge in passenger numbers in the month of May.

Defence company Chemring jumped 17% to 250p as its first-half profit surged, underpinned by a strong performance in its sensors & information segment.

Chemrging hiked its dividend 8%.

Travel location convenience store group SSP slumped 2.6% to 297.6p after it swung to a full-year loss and launched a raising of up to £26.8m, which it said would allow shareholders to reinvest their final dividend back into the company.

Concrete products maker Ibstock shed 1.3% to 198.1p on announcing that it was reviewing steps to scale back operations in an effort to slash costs that could lead to a 15% cut in its workforce.

Masonry products maker Forterra gained 3.1% to 215p after it, too, said it was taking steps to restructure the business, which, in its case, could lead to 225 job cuts.

Auto retailer Vertu Motors advanced 0.3% to 30.1p despite it booking a sharp fall in annual profit, for the year through February, after it wrote down the value of its assets to reflect the impact of Covid-19 on future performance.

Adjusted pre-tax profit in March was £5.9m, well below normal levels, while April and May saw combined losses of £20m, though that was 'significantly improved' on Virtu's initial forecasts.

Fishing tackle and equipment retailer Angling Direct gained 7.9% to 66.9p, even as it booked a full-year loss and warned of a looming hit to earnings from store closures.

Angling Direct also reported a 27% jump in sales and said online sales were 'materially ahead' post Covid-19 lockdowns, having risen 24% in April, with the trend continuing in May.

Industrial cleaning group React jumped 8.2% to 1.65p after it launched a £1.25m placing, at 1.5p per share, to fund sales and marketing activities and support its contract pipeline.

React has been experiencing high demand amid the Covid-19 pandemic as clients seek decontamination and infection control services.

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