- The FTSE 100 was up 1.6% to 6,420.12 just after midday, building on its earlier strength as investors cheered more positive news as Moderna suggested its vaccine could be 94.5% effective against Covid.

US futures markets were pointing to a higher start on Wall Street later despite an alarming spike in coronavirus cases.

Vodafone rose 3.3% to 123.5p, having swung to a first-half profit after the previous year's result was marred by losses at its Indian business, though its underlying earnings fell on lower roaming revenue.

Vodafone said it now had 'increased confidence' in its expectations for the full year, while forecasting adjusted earnings of between €14.4 billion and €14.6 billion.

IT infrastructure provider Softcat rallied 7.4% to £12 after it announced that it had grown its first-quarter revenue, gross profit and operating profit.

In a brief trading update, Softcat also said that its cash generation for the three months through October had remained in line with normal trends.

Fellow IT group Kainos firmed 0.2% to £11.90, having raised its interim dividend after doubling its first-half profit as the pandemic boosted digital transformation activity.

Kainos upped its interim payout by 83% to 6.4p a share.

Engineering outfit Smiths rose 2.7% to £15.44, even as its first-quarter revenue from continuing operations slipped 2%.

Smiths said the fall nevertheless underpinned confidence that it would meet market expectations for the full year.

Security company G4S gained 0.6% to 214.3p on announcing that it would target revenue from its cash solutions division in excess of $600 million by 2025 thanks to new business wins.

The update came as G4S seeks to fend off a 190p-a-share takeover offer from GardaWorld.

Technical products and serves group Diploma fell 1.7% to £22.56 after reporting a fall in annual profit that was hurt by acquisition-related costs and slightly lower revenue.

For the current financial year, however, Diploma said it expected a return to 'underlying mid-single digit growth and historic margins, in line with market expectations'.

Rail and bus company Stagecoach advanced 2.6% to 60.1p, having secured an extension to the timeframe of convenant waivers on its bank debt.

Aviation services group Stobart dipped 0.6% to 24.85p on news that it may lose a key contract with Irish carrier Aer Lingus.

Aer Lingus had informed the company's Stobart Air division that it was not the preferred supplier for a new commercial agreement, which would have commenced in January 2023. Stobart is still attempting to exit the division.

Retail property investor Supermarket Income REIT added 0.3% to 104.82p after it acquired a Tesco Extra and an Aldi supermarket, both in Beaumont Leys, Leicester, from British Land for a combined £63.4 million.

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