- Incumbent Donald Trump's decision to claim victory and call for the counting of votes to be stopped in a very tight presidential election led to nervousness in the markets on Wednesday morning.

Strength in the dollar against sterling helped spare the FTSE 100 some of the larger losses seen elsewhere in Europe but the index was highly volatile, down 0.1% to 5,781.02 having been down more than 1% at one stage. Germany DAX index was down 1.95% to 11,866.62.

AstraZeneca was the top riser on the FTSE 100, one of a number to be helped by the currency movements. Construction products firm CRH fell 4.5% to £28.16 as the disputed election result threatened to hold up expected infrastructure spend across the Atlantic.

It was a relatively quiet day for corporate news. Packaging firm Smurfit Kappa was up 2.8% to £31.82 as it reported a third quarter performance ahead of internal expectations with earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) of €390 million.

The company announced a quarterly dividend of 27.9 cent per share putting it in line with 'the dividend payment cycles of previous years' according to CEO Tony Smurfit

Retailer Marks & Spencer was up 2.9% to 94.7p as it saw revenue fall 15.8% in the six-month period to 26 September but hailed a 'robust performance' overall in the face of Covid-19.

Construction firm Morgan Sindall gained 5.7% to £12.30 as it said it expected full year profit to be slightly above the top end of its previously guided range of £50 million to £60 million.

The company announced plans to pay an interim dividend of 21p per share, in line with 2019's payment as it noted 'momentum within the group's operations has continued to increase following the Covid-related disruption in the first half'.

Sub-prime credit provider Provident Financial said it continued to trade in-line with internal plans in the third quarter and remained on track to hit expectations for 2020. Its shares rose 3.8% to 242.2p.

Precious metals explorer Wishbone Gold sparkled, up 40% to 9.1p, as it said its independent geological consultants in Australia, Terra Search, have identified four magnetic targets of considerable size covering 2.4km by 400m on its Patersons Range Project in the Havieron and Telfer region of Western Australia. In addition, Wishbone completed its legal and technical due diligence on the Patersons Range Project tenements and will now move to close the acquisition on the terms announced on 5 October 2020.

Apax Global Alpha reported strong third-quarter performance as net asset value return grew thanks to a boost from its private equity portfolio. The shares were up 0.5% to 160p.

Cybersecurity services provider ECSC was up 9.6% as it said third-quarter revenue had exceeded the average quarterly revenue for 2019.

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