StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks opened substantially higher on Monday following a rally in Chinese equities, even as Covid-19 cases continued to climb in the US.

At 0822, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 134.31 points, or 2.2%, at 6,291.61.

High-street lender Lloyds Banking added 2.5% to 31.8p on announcing that chief executive Antonio Horta-Osorio would stand down next year, having spent a decade at the helm.

The bank also announced that former UBS banker Robin Budenberg would succeed Norman Blackwell as its chairman, in early 2021.

Insurer and wealth manager Aviva firmed 4.5% to 285.85p after it announced that chief executive Maurice Tulloch had stood down with immediate effect for family health reasons.

Tulloch had been replaced by current director Amanda Blanc, who was previously head of Europe, the Middle East and North Africa at Zurich Insurance.

Home builder Barratt Developments rose 6.1% to 520.05p, even as it pulled final and special dividends for 2020 to conserve cash, citing the unprecedented impact of Covid-19.

Barratt, however, touted 'cautious optimism' as the new financial year got underway, supported by a strong forward order book and well capitalised balance sheet.

Mining company Hochschild Mining dropped 5.5% to 177.5p, having temporarily halted operations at its Inmaculada mine in Peru after a 'number of workers' tested positive for Covid-19.

Cinema group Cineworld gained 5.8% to 63.65p despite Canada's Cineplex initiating legal action against the company after it walked away from a $2.3bn merger deal.

Consumer goods group UP Global Sourcing, also known as Ultimate Products, rallied 10% to 74.2p after it announced that it expected its annual profit and revenue to beat market expectations.

Pest control group Rentokil rose 0.4% to 517.4p on announcing that it had appointed Stuart Ingall-Tombs as its new chief financial officer.

Ingall-Tombs was currently CFO of the company's North American division. He was replacing Jeremy Townsend, whose looming departure was announced in February.

Middle East and Africa focused payments group Network International gained 2.0% to 461.2p even as it warned that it expected its annual revenue to fall 17-20%, as the Covid-19 crisis continues to hurt economies in those regions. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com