StockMarketWire.com - The FTSE 100 was up around 1% by midday on Tuesday, hovering around the 6,250 mark. It appears the positive sentiment imbued by encouraging news on a Covid-19 vaccine is holding for now.

Stocks beaten down in the wake of the pandemic continued to rise with aircraft engine maker Rolls-Royce the top gainer on the FTSE for the second day in a row. A slightly higher open for the S&P 500 was also implied by US futures markets.

Real estate investment trust Land Securities reported revenue down 48.9% to £155 million and a pre-tax loss of £835 million for the six months to 30 September.

The investor in UK property also reported adjusted diluted earnings per share down 49% to 15.5p and net tangible asset per share down 9.5% to 1,079p.

Land Securities' share price rose 6.6% to 686p.

Sales, marketing and support services group DCC posted an 8.3% increase in adjusted operating profit to £176.1 million for the six months to 30 September despite revenue falling 18.9% to £5.9 billion.

Pre-tax profit came in at £102.1 million while the dividend was increased 5% to 51.95p.

DCC's share price rose 1% to £56.60.

British housebuilder Persimmon has reported strong trading and is fully sold up for the current year, while forward sales reserved beyond 2020 are up 43%, according to the company's third quarter trading statement.

The group has around £1.36 billion of forward sales reserved beyond 2020 compared to £0.95bn in 2019 with strong rates of build supporting future delivery.

Persimmon's share price has fallen 5.3% to £26.42.

AstraZeneca and Amgen announced positive results from the NAVIGATOR Phase III trial for the potential new medicine tezepelumab in patients with severe, uncontrolled asthma.

NAVIGATOR met the primary endpoint with tezepelumab added to standard of care (SoC) demonstrating a statistically significant and clinically meaning ful1reduction in the annualised asthma exacerbation rate (AAER) over 52 weeks in the overall patient population, compared to placebo when added to SoC.

AstraZeneca's share price rose 2.7% to £85.26.

Support services firm Capita reported revenue down 10.9% year-on-year to £803 million and flat adjusted operating profit of £66 million in the third quarter.

The company said trading was in line with expectations at the time of the first half results.

Capita's share price rose 18.4% to 30.8p.

Gross written premium at insurer Direct Line fell 0.8% in the third quarter to 0.8% as it said it was on track to deliver a combined operating ratio slightly behind its target range of 93% to 95% in 2020.

Direct Line's share price fell 1.3% to 287.50p.

Global aviation support services provider Signature Aviation saw its revenue fall 38% in the ten months to 31 October but recovery in flight activity across its network has stabilised at around 80% of prior year levels. At the end of October, the group had total facility headroom and cash of $462 million.

Its share price fell 24% to 261.9p.

Premier Foods has upgraded its trading profit outlook for the financial year after statutory profit before tax rose 35.5% for the second half of the 2020/21 year, according to its half year results.

Statutory profit before tax increased by £35.5 million to £50.5 million, driven by a 28.7% increase in trading profit to £65.8 million after increased marketing investment and incremental Covid costs.

Premier Foods' share price fell 5.8% to 97p.

Babcock has appointed Andrew Parker as an independent non-executive director. He will join the board with immediate effect.

Parker was previously director general of MI5, the UK Government's national security agency. Appointed in 2013, he retired from the role earlier this year.

Babcock's share price rose 4.8% to 261.9p.

Stockbroker Brewin Dolphin has announced Toby Strauss will join the board as chairman and non-executive director at the conclusion of the company's AGM on 5 February 2021.

At the same time, Simon Miller will step down as chairman and non-executive director.

Brewin Dolphin's share price fell 1.4% to 273.5p.

Industrial and electronic equipment supplier Electrocomponents reported a 37.5% drop in pre-tax profit to £55.6 million but reinstated a first half dividend which was up 3.4% year-on-year.

The company posted a like-for-like drop in revenue of 7.3% to £908.9 million for the six-month period to 30 September. Free cash flow was up from £13.9 million to £85 million and net debt fell from £220.7 million to £114.8 million.

Electrocomponents' share price was up 3.9% to 795.5p.


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