StockMarketWire.com - The FTSE 100 fell sharply by lunchtime trading on Thursday as it was revealed the Government's mass coronavirus testing plan will cost £100bn, according to a leaked memo seen by the British Medical Journal.

The index was also held back as the UK and EU prepare for emergency talks about the Irish border, following the UK government's decision to override certain parts of the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.

At 1200, the UK's leading basket of stocks fell 0.79% to 5,965.02.

Dixons Carphone jumped 5.5% to 86.4p on news that for the 15 weeks to the end of August, like-for-like sales rose 14% on-year, led by a 124% increase in online sales.

The retailer also said it was considering selling the stake in its Nordics business.

International Consolidated Airlines dipped 1.75% 196.9p after the British-Airways parent company trimmed its forecasts for capacity as ongoing travel restrictions weighed on booking activity.

The group said its capacity planning scenario for 2020 has been lowered to minus 63% in terms of available seat kilometres, compared to 2019 from minus 59% previously.

AstraZeneca moved 0.55% lower to £83.40 as the pharma giant said the phase 3 trial for its drug to treat patients with chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyps had met its primary objectives.

Supermarket chain Morrisons dropped 3.46% to 188.25p following its interim results which revealed total revenue was £8.73bn during the period, down 1.1% year on year, as fuel sales were 'severely affected' during lockdown, down 37.4% to £1.19bn in the half year.

Dunelm tumbled 5.33% to £13.85 as the homewares retailer pulled its final dividend after reporting a fall in annual profit as sales were hurt by shuttered stores during the government-imposed lockdown.

It reported that for the 52 weeks to 27 June 2020, pre-tax profit fell 13.3% to £109.31m on-year as revenue slipped 3.9% to £1.06bn.

Power utility National Grid moved down 0.84% to 852p as it named Paula Rosput Reynolds as its next chair, succeeding Sir Peter Gershon.

British Land gave up 1.27% to 349.4p on the news that Simon Carter, currently chief financial officer, would succeed Chris Grigg as chief executive officer on 18 November.

UK Commercial Property REIT fell 2.36% to 66.3p after disposing of the Great Lodge Retail Park in Tunbridge Wells for £46.25m as it seeks to reduce exposure to the retail sector.


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