StockMarketWire.com - The FTSE 100 plunged on Wednesday as a new surge in coronavirus cases around the globe unsettled investors.

Also sparking concerns were reports that the US is mulling $3.1bn worth of tariffs on imports from the UK and EU, with fears there could be a transatlantic trade fight further down the line.

At 1155, the UK's benchmark index was down 2.29%, or 145 points, to 6,175.57

In company news, Mr Kipling cake and Oxo stock cubes maker Premier Foods rallied 12.4% to 67p as it swung to a full-year profit that helped it eat into its large debt pile.

Premier Foods also said it expected to beat revenue and earnings expectations for the current financial year, amid a surge in demand for cooking ingredients like gravy and baking products during Covid-19 lockdowns.

Online wine retailer Naked Wines also appeared to be benefiting from folks staying at home, jumping 5.2% to 387p, despite it posting an underlying annual loss.

Naked Wines said it had experienced an encouraging start to the new year, with 81% revenue growth in the first two months.

But an end to some lockdowns is also looming. Despite this JD Wetherspoon, which confirmed that it would reopen pubs in England on 4 July in line with government guidance, fell 6.2% to £10.55.

Elsewhere, housebuilder Persimmon fell 3.4% to £22.82 after it announced that it had poached the head of bus group National Express, Dean Finch, to be its new chief executive, effective at the end of the year.

National Express reversed 3.6% to 226.8p.

Rival housebuilder Crest Nicholson plunged 10% to 225.6p after it swung to a first-half loss and warned its adjusted profits for the year would sink to between £35m and £45m, compared to £121.1m a year earlier.

Oil services group Petrofac dropped 10.5% to 197.1p, having warned that its trading performance had been materially impacted by the Covid-19 crisis and an associated plunge in oil prices.

Residential and industrial real estate investor St. Modwen Properties gained 0.85% to 356p despite warning of a substantial fall in first-half earnings, owing to the Covid-19 crisis.

St. Modwen's adjusted EPRA earnings for the six months through June were seen falling to around £4m-to-£5m, down from £16.2m on-year.

Russia-focused gold miner Petropavlovsk fell 3.4% to 30p after it welcomed news that Standard & Poor's had upgraded its long-term issuer credit rating to 'B' from 'B-' with a stable outlook.


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