StockMarketWire.com - The FTSE 100 was nearly 1% lower this morning following the Federal Reserve's announcement last night that it was likely to keep interest rates near zero for several years while the global economy recovers from Covid-19.

Fed chair Jerome Powell said the central bank would "maintain an accommodative stance of monetary policy" until conditions such as employment rates improved.

Clothing retailer Next's sales were down 33% on last year during the first half of 2020 during the "expensive and miserable" pandemic, according to its half-year results.

The company still made a profit before tax of £9m, down 97% on the first half of last year.

Its shares were up by 2.56% to £63.40 in early trading this morning.

Security company G4S completed the sale of its conventional cash businesses in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania for around £49m. The sale was completed on 14 September, and the company said it had received approximately 83% of the proceeds.

G4S shares were up slightly by 0.71% to 184.8p this morning.

Wealth manager Brooks Macdonald reported that annual profit rose by more than a quarter on higher margins and increased funds under management. For the year ended 30 June 2020, pre-tax profit rose 26.6% to £10m as revenue increased 2.7% to a record £108.6m.

Shares were down s1.3% to £17.52 in early trading.

Residential property business Grainger said Ealing Council had approved a plan to develop new homes for rent in Southall, London.

The scheme, by Connected Living London - the formal partnership between Grainger and Transport for London - will deliver 460 new homes, including 40% affordable housing, across five buildings.

Despite this, shares were down 1% to 312.6p in early trading.

Online trading platform IG reported a surge in first-quarter revenue as client growth and a 'high level' of trading activity continued to underpin performance.

For the three months to 31 August 2020, net trading revenue rose 62% to £209m on-year.

The news boosted the company's share price by 5.13% this morning to 830p.

Gambling company Playtech's adjusted profit fell 44% in the first half of 2020 compared with the first six months of last year, it announced this morning.

Earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation were €162.3m, down 16%.

The group's share price tumbled by 6.3% to 366.8p in early trading.

Biotech company Oxford Biomedica increased its revenue in the first half of 2020 by 6%, it announced this morning. Bioprocessing and commercial development were particularly strong, posting revenues of £23.4m, up by 24%.

The company's shares were up by 1.44% to 847p.

Food packing business Hilton Food upped its dividend after reporting that profit increased by more than a fifth in the first half of its fiscal year, led by increased revenue on higher volume growth. Hilton shares moved slightly higher by 0.33% this morning to £12.02.

Biotechnology company Destiny Pharma reported wider losses on higher costs in the first half of the year. For the half-year ended 30 June 2020, pre-tax losses widened to £2.9m from £2.4m on-year.

Despite the losses, the company's shares were up by 5.17% in early trading to 61p. Story provided by StockMarketWire.com