UK stocks fall 0.4% as Leicester lockdown stokes Covid resurgence fears

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UK stocks opened lower on Tuesday after fears of a resurgence of Covid-19 cases were reinforced by new lockdown measures, including in the UK city of Leicester.

At 0827, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down 21.66 points, or 0.4%, at 6,204.11.

Royal Dutch Shell slipped 1.3% to £13.22 as warned that it would book a massive net impairment charge in the second quarter of up to $22bn after it cut its oil-price forecasts in the wake of the Covid-19 crisis.

Hotel chain InterContinental Hotels fell 1.1% to £36.05, having forecast its second-quarter room revenue to tumble 75%, though it also said it had seen signs of improvements as the pace of hotels reopening continued to accelerate.

Cinema group Cineworld jumped 6.3% to 60.94p despite nudging back plans to reopen cinemas in the UK and US to the end of July, citing recent adjustments to the schedule of upcoming movie releases.

Engineering company Smiths rose 5.1% to £13.645 as it announced that it would cut an as-yet-unspecified number of jobs as part of a restructuring process, even as it announced a rise in year-to-date revenue.

Further details of the restructuring, designed to save around £70m a year, would be provided at Smiths' full-year results on 24 September.

House builder Redrow slumped 6.8% to 430.93p after its annual sales slumped 36% and its profit fell substantially thanks to Covid-19 lockdowns.

Flow control and instrumentation group Rotork reversed 4.6% to 272.6p, having forecast first-half revenue to slip by around 11-13%, assuming there were no additional Covid-19-related disruptions.

Adjusted operating profits would be lower, Rotork said, though it added that margins would be 'relatively resilient'.

Infrastructure group Balfour Beatty gained 0.9% to 260.23p after joint venture Gammon Construction was awarded a HK$5.67bn (£596m) contract from the Hong Kong government to deliver buildings, mechanical and electrical works.

Solar power investor NextEnergy Solar Fund firmed 0.2% to 108.21p after it bumped up its dividend by 3.3%, even as it swung to a full-year loss due to lower power prices and a fall in the value of its investments.

NextEnergy Solar Fund declared a dividend for the year through March of 6.87p per share, up from 6.65p on-year.

Advertising firm M&C Saatchi rallied 8.5% to 53.15p on revealing that the Covid-19 crisis hadn't hurt its business in April and May as severely as it had first expected.