StockMarketWire.com - The FTSE 100 closed firmly lower, down 0.6% at 5,884.65, not helped by strength in sterling amid signs negotiations between the EU and UK are set to intensify despite tough rhetoric on both sides.

Across the Atlantic, US stocks surrendered early gains to trade lower with the S&P 500 off 0.25% to 3,475.90 amid continuing uncertainty and turmoil over the nation's health and political situation.

In UK corporate news, online fashion retailer Boohoo slumped 20% to 252.4p after it confirmed that PricewaterhouseCoopers was standing down as its auditor.

The update came after the Financial Times reported that PwC was standing down due to concerns about the standard of corporate governance at Boohoo.

Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca fell 1.1% to £81.27 after it received positive regulatory decisions in Europe for separate treatments for heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Infrastructure investor John Laing ticked up 0.6% to 296p on agreeing to sell a portfolio of Australian wind farms to First Sentier Investors for $285 million, or about £157 million.

Consumer gift packaging business IG Design jumped 13.1% to 470.7p, having guided for higher-than-expected adjusted profit in the first half, amid a 40% surge in revenue.

IG Design, however, said it remained cautious on its full-year outlook amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Specialist currency manager Record ticked up 0.9% to 44p on its assets under management growing 4% in the second quarter.

Disease test-kit supplier Omega Diagnostics fell 4.7% to 93.85p after it signed a supply contract with Abingdon Health regarding the production of rapid tests in the UK for Covid-19.

Office and industrial property investor McKay Securities dipped 0.5% to 191p on announcing that it had collected 70% of rent due for the September quarter.

McKay Securities said the rate would increase to 87% on receipt of agreed monthly payments.

Biotechnology company Midatech Pharma rallied 9% to 36p, having reported encouraging headline results from a phase-one study in patients with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, which is a primary brain tumour.

Contamination control product manufacturer Tristel posted a 40% rise in annual profit after the Covid-19 pandemic drove higher demand for hospital surface disinfectants. The shares finished 0.4% higher at 500p.


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