StockMarketWire.com - The FTSE 100, along with other major global indices, was on course for its worst week for March by midday on Friday, down 0.3% to 5,564.95.

Reports that the UK is looking to accelerate approval for a coronavirus vaccine doing only a little to address the negative impact the pandemic is having on the market.

In corporate news there was a relatively positive earnings update from NatWest, the bank formerly known as Royal Bank of Scotland, which sent its shares up 5.5% to 123.6p.

NatWest swung to a third-quarter profit after its impairment losses fell sharply from the second quarter and it incurred far smaller misconduct costs.

The bank, like rivals HSBC, Barclays and Lloyds before it, also forecast impairment credit losses for the full year at the lower end of its previous guidance range.

British-airways owner International Consolidated Airlines ascended 1.8% to 92.72p, despite swinging to a third-quarter loss, though investors already were well-braced for a bad result thanks to the pandemic's impact on air travel.

Looking ahead, IAG estimated that it would take until at least 2023 for passenger demand to reach the levels of 2019.

Miner and commodities trader Glencore fell 1.6% to 153.02p as year-to-date production of its commodities fell and it downgraded its coal output guidance citing strikes in Colombia.

Glencore's annual coal output was now expected at 114 million tonnes, give or take 3 million tonnes, down from previous guidance of 109 million tonnes, give or take 3 million tonnes.

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca rose 0.2% to £78.63 after it agreed to sell the rights to heart disease and hypertension treatments Atacand and Atacand Plus in around 70 countries to Cheplapharm for $400 million.

AstraZeneca said the sale would not impact its financial guidance for 2020.

Computer services provider Computacenter fell 0.2% to £22.94, despite announcing that it was 'very comfortable' with its current expectations for the full year amid a strong backlog of orders.

Travel company TUI added 1.5% to 295.3p after it signed a further sale and leaseback agreement with BOC Aviation, this time for two new Boeing 737 MAX-8 aircraft for a combined $90 million (€76 million).

Russia-focused gold miner Petropavlovsk slipped 4.4% to 26.25p, having swung to a first-half loss after rising revenue, boosted by higher output and gold prices, was offset by losses related to a debt conversion option.

Petropavlovsk, which recently underwent a board shakeup, said that it was aiming to provide a greater focus on 'providing returns to all shareholders', while noting that it hadn't declared a dividend for eight years.

Marketing company 4imprint shed 3.9% to £20.43 after investors were left unimpressed by news that its average weekly revenue over the last four weeks was around 65% of the prior-year period.

Africa-focused fuel retailer Vivo Energy rallied 3.5% to 74.2p, having reinstated its dividend after its third-quarter gross profit edged back 1%, with lower sales volumes offset by improved margins.

Vivo said it would pay its previously withdrawn 2019 final dividend of 2.7c per share, with dividends in respect of 2020 performance to be determined at its full-year results.

Restaurant operator Tasty dropped 9.6% to 1.36p as it swung to a deeper first-half loss after the pandemic hammered sales, while warning of more pain from further UK lockdowns.

Tasty said it continued to negotiate with landlords and had secured a loan facility of £1.25 million, which could be drawn down until 7 February.

'However, drawdown is restricted until the future of the group is assured through restaurant closures and creditor arrangements,' it added.


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