StockMarketWire.com - UK markets have headed lower as the World Health Organization warned that global cases of COVID-19 will soon top 10 million and Royal Mail announced it was cutting 2,000 management jobs as the pandemic hits.

Meanwhile, human trials for a coronavirus vaccine are underway in the UK at Imperial College London.

The FTSE 100 was down 1.2%, or 71.87 points, at 6,051.82 and the FTSE 250 was 1.7% lower at 16,868.30 at 08.39am.

Royal Mail has lost 6.6% to 168p on the news that it is shedding 2,000 management jobs in a bid to address the 'immediate impact' of COVID-19, as it reported lower revenue for the first two months of 2020-21.

The company announced a three-step plan which is expected to result in a £130m saving in people costs next year and flat non-people costs, along with a reduction of around £300m in capex across the group over the next two years.

BAE Systems is down 0.9% to 476.3p after the defence company said it expected 'much stronger' performance in the second half of the year after the impact of the pandemic dented first-half profit.

EasyJet has descended 6.8% to 689.4p as the budget airline detailed plans to raise about £419m from the placing of shares at a discount.

Auto Trader has decelerated 2.6% to 512.2p after it reported an uptick in profit but said the short-term outlook remained uncertain despite an initial bounce back in used car demand since its retailers resumed operations.

Estate agent Savills has fallen 3.5% to 801.8p after a trading update in which it reported that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on global real estate market volumes.

The company said that group full-year performance will depend on the extent to which regional transactional markets recover in the second half.

Chemicals company Johnson Matthey is 2.3% lower to £20.26 on the news that chief financial officer Anna Manz is set to leave the company after almost four years and join the London Stock Exchange as CFO.

Capita has declined 6.3% to 43.6p as it warned of lower first-half revenue this year after performance was hurt by the Covid-19 pandemic and contract losses.

Revenue in the first half of the year was expected to be around 10% lower than 2019, of which 5% related to Covid-19, the company said.

LondonMetric Property fell 0.9% to 210.2p following the announcement of two acquisitions for a total of £72.9m.

Student accommodation developer Unite is down 1.7% to 882.5p after raising approximately £300m through a placing, the proceeds of which will be used to accelerate its growth in London and prime provincial markets.

The placing price represented a discount of 3.1% to the middle market closing price on 24 June 2020 of 897.5p.

Story provided by StockMarketWire.com