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

At midday the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 79 points or 1.3% at 6,303 points.

Retail sales rose 12% in May, beating market expectations of a 6.3% improvement, while the latest GfK survey showed UK consumer confidence at a post-crisis high.

The index was lifted by global brands such as Diageo up 3% to £28.93 and Unilever up 2.5% to £46.20 as well as utility firms National Grid up 3% to 978p and Centrica up 2.8% to 43.1p.

Building materials group SIG rallied 8.7% to 36.5p on launching a £165m discounted share issue 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 7.4% to 72.5p as cost control offset a 3% slide in revenue to boost its earnings in the first five months of the year.

Shares in Jupiter European Opportunities investment trust bounced 6.7% to 733p after they suffered a 12% drubbing yesterday on trouble at its biggest holding, German mobile payments firm Wirecard.

Mining company Rio Tinto added 0.4% to £45.23 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 gained 1.2% to 287p after it priced a €520m bond offering that would help bolster its balance sheet during the Covid-19 crisis.

Engineering services company Wood Group eased 0.4% to 226p after it said adjusted earnings had slumped 19% in the first half after the Covid-19 crisis hurt clients in the oil and gas sector.

However, the firm said the blow had been buffered by resilience in the chemicals and oil-refining sectors and new work in alternative energy.

Construction and engineering company Costain shed 0.9% to 76p after it announced that overall activity levels had now stabilised.




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