StockMarketWire.com - FTSE dips back below 5,900 with US election and jobs report in focus

The FTSE 100 lost some ground by midday, down 0.1% to 5,897.03, after a strong run this week around the US election.

Incumbent Donald Trump is still making claims of fraud as his challenger Joe Biden looked on course to secure the White House. US futures pointed to modest losses on Wall Street later with the influential monthly jobs report due out later.

Premier Foods has sold its stake in bread-maker Hovis to private equity firm Endless in a £37 million deal, which it said would strengthen the group's financial position as it continues to improve its leverage profile.

Alongside its joint venture partner, the Gores Group, the group has held a 49% minority interest in Hovis since April 2014. Under Gores and Premier Foods' ownership, Hovis has undergone major supply chain restructuring.

Premier Foods' share price has risen 2.4% to 106.04p.

Budget airline EasyJet said it expected to fly no more than 20% of planned capacity for the fiscal first quarter of 2021 folllowing lockdowns in England, Germany, and France.

The company also said it would sell and leaseback a further eleven aircraft with two counterparties, generating proceeds of $169.5 million, or approximately £130.7 million.

EasyJet's share price has fallen 4.8% to 520.9p.

Intact Financial Corporation and Tryg A/S have proposed a £7.2bn offer to acquire RSA Insurance in what they believe would be a 'strategically compelling' merger, according to a statement from the three companies.

RSA share price has fallen 2.4% to 654.2p.

Engineering and industrial software Aveva said it would launch a rights issue to raise gross proceeds of approximately £2.835 billion to partly fund the acquisition of OSIsoft, a global leader in real-time industrial data software and services.

Aveva's share price is down 3 % to £40.39.

Drugmaker AstraZeneca said its Brilinta drug was approved in the US to reduce the risk of stroke or death in patients with acute ischemic stroke or high-risk transient ischaemic attack.

The approval by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was based on positive results from the THALES Phase III trial that showed aspirin plus Brilinta 90mg significantly reduced the rate of the composite of stroke and death compared to aspirin alone in patients with acute ischaemic stroke or transient ischaemic attack.

AstraZeneca's share price has fallen 1.1% to £84.35.

HgCapital Trust said it had invested about £20m in Gen II Fund Services, a private equity fund administrator.

The terms of the transaction were not disclosed and closing of the transaction was conditional on customary anti-trust and regulatory approvals, the company said.

HgCapital Trust's share price is up 2.8% to 299p.

Insurance company Beazley said gross premiums written exceeded its expectations for the nine months ended 30 September 2020.

Gross premiums written increased by 16% year on year to $2,534m, ahead of its expectations, driven by a combination of rate increases, adding exposure in a number of areas, the company said.

Beazley's share price has risen 1.4%. to 309.4p.

Marine services company James Fisher and Sons warned on profit after performance fell short of its expectations in the third quarter amid ongoing challenges.

The company now expected underlying operating profit for the full year, before separately disclosed items, to be in the range of £35m-to-£40m.

James Fisher and Sons' share price is down 22.4% to 838p.


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