StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks opened higher on Friday as investors embraced a continuing easing of local lockdowns, though optimism was tempered by a renewed surge of Covid-19 cases in the US.

At 0823, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 53.55 points, or 0.9%, at 6,200.69.

Supermarket giant Tesco fell 0.4% to 225.42p, even as it reported an 8% leap in first-quarter sales as households stocked up during the Covid-19 crisis.

Tesco, however, warned of flat retail operating profits due to an accompanying rise in costs. It also warned of losses in its banking division of up £200m, having upped its bad debt provisions.

Luxury carmaker Aston Martin Lagonda reversed 6.7% to 58.24p on announcing that it would raise up to 20% of its current market capitalisation via share placing as the Covid-19 crisis hits sales.

Online gambling group 888 rallied 8.8% to 166p, having forecast earnings 'significantly ahead' of expectation as the pandemic boosts demand during lockdowns.

Budget airline EasyJet ascended 2.5% to 686.8p after it agreed the sale and leaseback of six A320neo aircraft for $255m to bolster its finances.

Pub company Marston's dropped 5.4% to 61p as it swung to a first-half loss, after the Covid-19 crisis took a big chunk out its sales.

Marston's said it planned to reopen its pubs from 4 July, in line with government rules, though initial revenue and earnings profiles were uncertain.

Engineering company Weir gained 3.2% to £10.665 on announcing that it was continuing to explore exit options for its oil and gas division, which had been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis.

Orders at Weir's mineral division, meanwhile, had remained stable in the second quarter, with margins in a normal range.

Shared office group Workspace fell 1.1% to 671.5p, despite it being granted planning consent for a mixed-use redevelopment of two adjacent properties in Wandsworth, south London.

Safety company investor Marlowe rose 2.1% to 487.84p as it forecast a 52% surge in adjusted annual profit and launched a £35m share placing to to fund the acquisition of contractor management software provider Elogbooks.

New shares in Marlowe were being issued at 478p each.

Bowling alley operator Ten Entertainment shed 4.9% to 172.06p on announcing that chief executive Duncan Garrood was resigning to join Empiric Student Property.

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