StockMarketWire.com - Britain's main stock index edged higher on Friday, despite skittishness caused by a resurgence of Covid-19 cases in Europe.

At 11.36, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was marginally higher, up 0.02% at 6,014.26 points.

Retail sales rose 3.6% in July, adding to June's 13.9% bounce and beating expectations of a 2.0% improvement, although the boost to the pound weighed down the blue chip benchmark early on.

However, market sentiment subsequently turned following the announcement that Pfizer could receive regulatory approval for its coronavirus vaccine as early as October or November.

LARGE AND MID CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Budget airlines gained after the UK Government added Portugal to its list of travel corridors. EasyJet rose 2% to 565p with rival Ryanair improving 2.25% to €11.4, while tour operator TUI edged 1.4% higher to 298.25p.

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca shed 0.2% to £85.34, even as its drug to treat patients with extensive-stage small cell lung cancer gained approval in Japan.

Investment company HG Capital Trust climbed 3.8% to 260p on announcing that it would pour about £17.1m into Norwegian enterprise software company Visma.

SMALL CAP RISERS AND FALLERS

Disease test-kit supplier Omega Diagnostics rose 1.7% to 59p, having received World Health Organisation pre-qualification for its Visitect CD4 test for HIV.

Logistics group Eddie Stobart jumped 7.2% to 8.2p on news that it had secured a three-year contract from supermarket group Morrisons to provide transportation services from two distribution centres.

Alternative energy company Simec Atlantis Energy surged 60% to 28.5p after it agreed to source £170m of debt from South Korea's Hana Financial Investment.

The debt would fund the first phase of the company's Uskmouth project in Wales, which would convert a coal-fired power plant into one fed by waste-derived fuel pellets.

Engineering company 600 Group was unchanged at 8p, despite the welcome news its order book had begun to recover after lockdowns eased.

The company also secured a £1.2m ($1.6m) loan backed by the UK government via HSBC to help it weather the pandemic.

Cleaning products group Tristel ticked up 3.2% higher to 490p after its Duo disinfectants were approved for the decontamination of semi-critical medical devices by authorities in India.

RNA therapeutics developer Silence Therapeutics softened 0.7% to 458p on announcing that it had filed for a proposed listing of American depositary shares on the Nasdaq.

Oncology, inflammation and infectious diseases focused Tiziana Life Sciences edged up 1% to 158.5p, having been been granted a patent in the US related to its Milciclib treatment for cancer.

Superyacht maintenance company GYG gained 3.9% to 80.5p on guiding for higher core first-half earnings, as margin improvements through restructuring offset a fall in revenue.


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