StockMarketWire.com - By midday the FTSE 100 was solidly higher, up 0.4% at 5,906.14, after the Bank of England a new £150 billion stimulus package and most observers (and the bookmakers) pointed to Joe Biden as the likely victor in a very tight US presidential election.

US futures pointed to modest gains on Wall Street later as counting in some key states continues and as incumbent Donald Trump makes widely repudiated claims of fraud.

Pharma giant AstraZeneca maintained its guidance after reporting a jump in third-quarter profit as revenue was boosted by strength in its portfolio of cancer drugs.

Its shares were up 0.4% to £85.47.

For the three months ended 30 September, pre-tax profit jumped to $853 million from $409 million as revenue rose to $6.58 billion from $6.41 billion year-on-year.

Airline Wizz Air's total revenue fell by 71.8% to €471.2m in the first half of the year compared to the same period in 2019, according to its interim results.

Its passenger numbers dropped 70.7% while ticket revenues decreased by 78.9% to €201.8 million due to the Covid-19 lockdown.

Its shares were up 2.7% to £35.86, reversing earlier losses.

Digital automotive marketplace Auto Trader reported a slump in profit as revenue was hurt by its decision to offer promotions on advertising for customers on its platform. For the six months ended 30 September 2020, pre-tax profit fell 48% to £66.2 million year-on-year as revenue slipped 37% to £118.2m.

Its shares were up down 2.6% to 579.2p.

Software group Aveva maintained its interim dividend despite swinging to a first-half loss as revenue fell on delays in closing new business.

For the half year ended 30 September, the company reported a loss of £23.2 million compared with a profit of £25.5 million year-on-year as revenue fell 15.1% to £332.6 million.

Aveva's shares were down 9.2% to £40.12

Food supplier Tate & Lyle saw its revenue fall 4% in the first half of the year due lower demand for products in out of home use, according to its interim results.

The company posted a statutory profit before tax of £157 million down from £164 million in the first half of 2019, but its free cashflow was up by £23 million to £194 million in the first half.

Its shares were up 5.9% to 669.4p

Supermarket chain Sainsbury's resumed its interim dividend and declared a special dividend in lieu of a final dividend, after forecasting annual pre-tax profit to be at least 5% higher than last year, reflecting stronger than expected sales, particularly at Argos.

Its shares were down 4.3% to 200p.

Homewares retailer Dunelm said it would shutter its stores after homewares was 'unexpectedly' not added to the essential retail list that would allow the company's stores to operate as England goes into a one-month lockdown.

Its shares were down 0.9% to £13.85.

Hikma Pharmaceuticals lifted its full-year guidance on revenue for its generics segment following stronger-than-expected performance in the year to date.

Revenue for generics was lifted to a range of $720 million to $740 million, from previous guidance range of $710 million to $730 million, while core operating margin guidance was maintained in the range of 18% to 19% for the full year.

Its shares were up 2.9% to £27.30.


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