- UK stocks eked out small gains in early trading on Wednesday after supermarket giant Tesco released bumper profit results and hiked its dividend.

At 0822, the benchmark FTSE 100 index had edged up 3.48 points to 5,953.42.

The modest rise came despite Donald Trump's decision to abruptly end talks with Democrats on a new Covid-19 stimulus package.

Tesco firmed 2.6% to 219.6p, having posted a 29% rise in first-half profit as households stocked up on groceries during the pandemic, offsetting losses at its banking division.

Tesco lifted its dividend 21% to 3.2p per share and also announced that it had appointed Imran Nawaz as its new chief financial officer.

Nawaz was currently CFO of food and beverage ingredient supplier Tate & Lyle, which fell 0.5% to 675.4p.

Security company G4S shed 0.3% to 201.3p as it hit back at claims by hostile takeover bidder Garda World Security that it was 'very badly run' and needed a new owner.

G4S said the assertions were 'misleading', while claiming that GardaWorld's focus was 'on legacy issues, which are now substantially resolved'.

Video games maker Codemasters rallied 8.6% to 390p on announcing that it expected its first-half revenue and earnings to more than double, thanks to the launch of new titles.

Auto retailer Vertu Motors advanced 4.3% to 32.84p, even as it posted a 75% slump in first-half profit after sales were crimped by the pandemic.

Vertu, however, also said its performance had bounced back strongly after lockdowns were eased, including a 20% rise in sales in September.

German business park investor Sirius Real Estate slipped 0.7% to 78.43p after it said it had collected 97.2% of rent for the six months through September and was trading in line with market expectations for the full year.

Primary care property investor Assura shed 0.5% to 76.9p on announcing that its rent collections were 'in-line with normal patterns' in the first half.

Online women's fashion retailer Sosandar jumped 9.1% to 16.36p as it guided for a substantial narrowing in first-half losses amid a 52% rise in sales.

Inkjet printing technology group Xaar fell 2.8% to 130.75p after it revealed it was the victim of a cyber attack that involved unauthorised access to its computer systems.

Xaar said it had contained the incident and not experienced any impact to business operations.

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