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Midday Report: Travel stocks main focus as FTSE 100 dips

Midday headlines from the Proactive UK newsroom. The FTSE 100 was dipping again after a bright start with travel stocks the main focus after an update from easyJet (LON:EZJ). The airline unveiled plans to keep the middle seat on its planes empty once the Covid-19 lockdown has been lifted. Costs while its fleet are grounded are running at £30-40mln per week.

UK retail sales fell by 27% in the first two weeks of the coronavirus lockdown. The figures for March were the worst ever recorded and the British Retail Consortium says hundreds of thousands of retail jobs are at risk.

The UK’s jobless total across the country might reach five million if the lockdown last six months according to an independent think-tank. The Resolution Foundation had already predicted two million will be jobless from a three-month lockdown.

Pubs meanwhile are asking punters to pay in advance to keep them going during the crisis. Customers get vouchers for drinks, rooms or events that can be redeemed in future as part of a ‘Pulling Together’ initiative.

A different problem for PZ Cussons (LON:PZC), It's struggling to produce enough of its highly sought after Carex hand wash, sanitiser gel products and Imperial Leather soap. A shortage of raw materials is the issue.

Pest control and laundry services provider Rentokil (LON:RTO) is to train 7,000 staff for deep clean services in response to increased demand and for when schools and offices re-open.

Events group Informa (LON:INF) is planning to raise up to £1bn from shareholders after postponing or cancelling almost 500 events due to the coronavirus. The final dividend has also been scrapped.

Keywords Studios (LON:KWS) said a surge in video game playing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic lockdown is driving “increased demand” for its development services. The AIM-listed group has only suffered a “limited impact” from the outbreak.

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