StockMarketWire.com - UK stocks opened higher on Wednesday following the release of positive local inflation data, though optimism was being tempered by a surge in global Covid-19 cases and related mutation fears.

At 0818, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 32.21 points, or 0.5%, at 6,892.08.

The UK consumer price index rose 0.7% in March from 0.4% in February, indicating the economy was on the mend -- though the market had expected an even stronger reading, of 0.8%.

BHP gained 1.3% to £21.945 after it upgraded its annual copper production guidance, though it also downgraded its guidance for both metallurgical and energy coal.

The world's biggest mining company kept its guidance for petroleum and iron-ore intact, with output of the latter rising 4% in the nine months through March.

In a big morning for mining production reports, Chile-focused copper play Antofogasta shed 0.6% to £18.30 after it reported a fall in first-quarter output but stuck to its annual guidance.

Hochschild Mining rose 0.5% to 196.75p after it, too, maintained its annual production forecasts, despite reporting weaker first-quarter numbers.

Elsewhere, plastics producer Synthomer firmed 2.8% to 495.2p, having upgraded its annual earnings guidance, reflecting strong demand for its nitrile latex products during the pandemic.

Synthomer's earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation for the year through December were now expected to be in excess of £450 million.

Distribution and services group Bunzl dropped 4.4% to £23.95, even as it reported a 5.4% rise in first-quarter revenue driven by demand for Covid-19 related products.

Bunzl stuck to its previous annual guidance -- for 'robust' revenue growth in 2021.

Fitness centre operator Pure Gym gained 2.1% to 242.5p despite booking a £215 million annual pre-tax loss -- a result its chief executive described as 'awful' but out of its control, due to lockdowns.

Pure Gym said it had seen an 'excellent' member reaction to gym openings in England, with over 1 million member workouts for the first week back, similar levels to the equivalent week in 2019.

Inhaled respiratory treatment group Vectura climbed 3.2% to 115.2p on announcing that it would pay a 19p/share special dividend following victory in a patent litigation involving GlaxoSmith Kline.

Meanwhille, generic drugs group Hikma Pharmaceuticals rose 2.1% to £24.28 said as it resumed the launch of a generic version of GlaxoSmithKline's asthma Advair Diskus in the US.

Online contracts for difference broker Plus500 rose 0.3% to £15.005, having agreed to acquire the membership interests of Cunningham Commodities and Cunningham Trading Systems in the US for around $30 million.

Auto dealer Pendragon advanced 5.2% to 20.4p as it swung to a first-quarter underlying profit, despite a slump in sales, after it cut expenses.

Flooring manufacturer Victoria firmed 1.1% to 900p following news that it had acquired ceramic tile distributors Ceramica Colli, Vallelunga and Ceramiche Santa Maria for around €35 million.

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