- The US markets put any disappointment over a failed stimulus package behind them with the S&P 500 up 1.3% at 4.30pm UK time but that failed to spark a reaction in the FTSE 100 which was stuck roughly where it started for the day, just above the 5,950 mark.

This pattern was repeated in other European markets as, in a sign of the continuing resurgence of Covid-19 Scotland brought in stricter measures to counter the virus. Germany's DAX was up just a handful of points.

Tesco surrendered earlier gains to trade down 0.4% at 213.2p, having posted a 29% rise in first-half pre-tax 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 is currently CFO of food and beverage ingredient supplier Tate & Lyle, which fell 2.1% to 664.4p.

Security company G4S was flat at 202.1p as it hit back at claims by hostile takeover bidder GardaWorld 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 4.9% to 376.5p 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 fell 2.4% to 30.7p, 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 fell 1.4% to 77.9p 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 1% to 76.5p on announcing that its rent collections were 'in-line with normal patterns' in the first half.

Online women's fashion retailer Sosandar jumped 4.4% to 15.7p, erasing some of the larger gains it banked earlier on, as it guided for a substantial narrowing in first-half losses amid a 52% rise in sales.

Inkjet printing technology group Xaar fell 6% to 126.5p 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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