- UK stocks opened higher on Friday after retail sales rebounded in May, helping to offset concerns about a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

At 0823, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 22.82 points, or 0.4%, at 6,246.89.

Retail sales rose 12% in May, beating market expectations of a 6.3% improvement.

Engineering services company Wood Group gained 1.1% to 229.19p, even as it said its adjusted earnings had slumped 19% in the first half after the Covid-19 crisis hurt clients in the oil and gas sector.

Wood, however, said the blow had been buffered by resilience in the chemicals and oil-refining sectors.

Mining company Rio Tinto fell 0.6% to £44.76 as it launched a review of its heritage management process, having attracted widespread condemnation for blasting an ancient cave site in Australia held sacred by indigenous people.

Chemicals company Synthomer reversed 0.2% to 282.6p after it priced a €520m bond offering that would help bolster its balance sheet during the Covid-19 crisis.

Building materials group SIG added 5.0% to 35.2p, on launching a £165m discounted share issue, even as trading recovers as lockdowns ease.

New shares in SIG would be offered at 25p each to investment manager CD&R Sunshine, to raise £60m. The raising also included a placing and open offer at 30p per share, to raise of £105m.

Industrial equipment supplier HC Slingsby jumped 17% to 79p as cost control offset a 3% slide in revenue to boost its earnings in the first five months of the year.

Construction and engineering company Costain shed 0.8% to 76p after it announced that overall activity levels had now stabilised.

Oil company TomCo Energy added 0.3% to 0.76p on news that it had terminated a proposed £1.5m equity placing.

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