- UK stocks traded sideways at the open on Wednesday as concerns about mounting Covid-19 cases in the US were offset by some encouraging trading updates from local retailers Kingfisher and Computacenter.

At 0827, the benchmark FTSE 100 index had inched down 1.96 points to 6,267.77.

Home improvement retailer Kingfisher rallied 10% to 246.72p on forecasting a half-year adjusted profit ahead of the prior year, as demand bounced back after lockdowns eased.

Kingfisher's like-for-like sales jumped 22% in the second quarter, though for the year to 18 July they fell 3.7%.

IT equipment retailer Computacenter leapt 8.8% to £18.8825, having reported a 'substantial' rise in annual profit, as companies shifted to remote working in the pandemic.

Chile-focused copper play Antofagasta added 1.5% to £10.52 even as it's production dropped in the second quarter.

Antofagasta said it expected to meet the lower end of its annual output guidance.

Fellow miner Fresnillo gained 6.8% to £11.415, even as it cut its annual production guidance, too.

Bus and train operator Stagecoach advanced 7.7% to 54.35p, despite swinging to a full-year loss and scrapping its final dividend, as planned, in what it described as a 'creditable' performance given the circumstances.

Stagecoach said it was continuing to mull funding options, amid a cloudy outlook for the public transport sector.

Engineering company Melrose Industries sank 12% to 106.37p on announcing that it wouldn't pay an interim dividend after its revenue slumped 27% in the first half.

The decision adds more dividend pain for Melrose investors, who already had to forgo last year's final dividend.

Private healthcare services group Mediclinic International firmed 5.9% to 269p, having experienced a continued improvement in its operating performance during June as lockdown measures were eased.

Drinks maker Britvic was flat at 797.5p after its revenue tanked 16% in the third quarter, as lockdowns crimped demand from pubs and restaurants.

Fellow drinks group Nichols fell 1.6% to £11.6625 as it posted a 78% drop in first-half profit, but more than doubled its interim dividend, citing a resilient cash performance.

Infection prevention product manufacturer Tristel dropped 11% to 415p, even after announcing that it expected to beat market expectations with a 21% jump in annual adjusted profit.

Tristel said the Covid-19 pandemic had triggered a surge in demand for hospital disinfection products, though the demand outlook remained uncertain, including for medical device cleaning.

Developer and regeneration specialist St. Modwen Properties shed 2.3% to 346.37p having swung to a first-half loss and cut its dividend, owing partly to a negative revaluation of sites in Wales. Story provided by