- UK stocks notched modest gains in early trading on Friday as investors held out hope that stimulus measures and vaccines would get the global economy through the Covid-19 crisis, even as cases continue to jump in the US and elsewhere.

At 0821, the benchmark FTSE 100 was up 13.64 points, or 0.2%, at 6,264.33.

Mining company Rio Tinto rose 1.1% to £48.75, having stuck to its annual iron-ore output guidance after it produced 4% more of the key steel-making ingredient in the second quarter.

Home repairs and improvement business Homeserve gained 3.2% to £13.45 after it said it still expected a 'solid' performance for the fiscal year 2021, with demand for services bouncing back as lockdowns ease.

Support services group DCC shed 0.4% to £70.36 even as it announced a first-quarter performance ahead of its expectations, although behind the prior year owing to lockdowns in place during April and May.

Freight management services provider Xpediator advanced 2.7% to 23.1p on seeing trading volumes return to more normal levels, putting it on track to only marginally miss its original expectations for the first half.

Component supplier Essentra rose 0.6% to 326.2p after a subsidiary reached a $667k (£530K) settlement with the US Department of Justice over unauthorised transactions linked to North Korea.

Online educational services group Wey Education leapt 13% to 26.1p as it announced that it expected to swing to a full-year profit, higher than current market expectations, amid a 30% jump in sales.

Fund manager Ninety One firmed 0.6% to 220.6p after its assets under management rose 14% in the first quarter, as global equity markets staged a comeback from heavy pandemic-related falls in March.

Recruitment company Gattaca rallied 14% to 49.78p, even as it forecast net fee income for the year to fall by more than a fifth, despite a better-than-expected performance in the three months through June.

Training solutions group Pennant International jumped 17% to 41.96p on announcing that it had won a new contract in the Middle East with an initial order value of £1.5m.

Oil company Reabold Resources added 2.1% to 0.59p after it hit back at criticism of its prospects by Deltic Energy, for which Reabold Resources has launched a hostile takeover bid. Story provided by