- The FTSE 100 was down markedly by midday, giving part a large part of the gains sparked by news of Moderna's vaccine yesterday.

Part of the reason behind the move was strength in sterling against other major currencies, which depresses the relative value of the FTSE's dominant overseas earnings. The pound was up on hopes for a Brexit deal.

Tobacco giant Imperial Brands rallied 5.6% to £14.82 as it reported a 28% rise in annual profit, buoyed by more people spending money on tobacco during lockdowns.

Looking ahead, Imperial Brands said it expected to deliver low-to-mid-single-digit growth in organic adjusted operating profit at constant currency, excluding the sale of its Premium Cigar asset.

Budget airline EasyJet dropped 2.7% to 756p, having swung to a £1.27 billion loss after the pandemic shrank its revenue by 53%.

EasyJet said it still expected to fly no more than about 20% of planned capacity for the first quarter of its 2021 financial year.

Home repairs company Homeserve jumped 2.2% to £12.64 as it upgraded its annual earnings guidance and raised its interim dividend amid a better-than-expected showing in the first half.

Homeserve declared an interim dividend of 6.2p per share, up 7% year-on-year.

Water and climate management group Polypipe fell 1.6% despite upgrading its annual earnings guidance, after its revenue slipped by a less-than-expected 1.5% in its financial year to date.

Polypipe said that it expected a full-year underlying operating profit of at least £35 million, compared to the current consensus range of £30 million-to-£35 million.

Power equipment supplier Aggreko firmed 3.8% to 589.5p on guiding for full-year profit at the upper end of its guidance range amid a recovery across its markets.

Aggreko's pre‑exceptional pre-tax profit was expected at the upper end of between £80 million and £100 million.

Banking group Virgin Money UK slipped 3.6% to 136.8p following news that it had appointed Clifford Abrahams as its new chief financial officer.

Abrahams was currently CFO of ABN AMRO Bank and had previously held the same role at Dutch insurer Delta Lloyd.

Online wine retailer Naked Wines ticked up 0.4% to 484.6p as it announced the appointment of Shawn Tabak as its chief financial officer, effective 7 December.

Tabak was previously vice president of finance at work marketplace Upwork.

Music and audio products group Focusrite climbed 1.4% to 927.2p, even as it posted a 46% drop in annual profit after it wrote down the value of its Martin Audio business, due to the pandemic hurting the live gig scene.

Focusrite, however, upped its dividend 10.5% to 4.2p per share, with its unnderlying operating performance boosted by amateur musicians getting creative at home during lockdowns.

Utility services provider Telecom Plus ticked up 0.7% to £13.76 after it posted a 1.8% rise in first-half profit and held its dividend steady, as customer numbers bounced back following a lull during the UK's initial national Covid-19 lockdown.

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