StockMarketWire.com - After a flat start the FTSE 100 began moving this afternoon after news of vaccine approval in the UK and weakness in sterling as Brexit talks reach a critical stage.

By the close the FTSE was up by more than 1% and well above the 6,400 mark. A falling pound benefits the relative value of the overseas shares which dominate the index. At 4.30pm UK time the S&P 500 in the US was down a smidge at 3,661.32.

The UK became the first country in the world to approve the use of a Covid-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech, with first doses expected to be rolled out next week.

The London Stock Exchange Group was up 9.4% to £87.40 on reports European regulators will clear its takeover of information provider Refinitiv.

G4S jumped 7.3% to 245.6p after US rival GardaWorld upped its takeover offer for the security services group to to 235p a share, valuing it at around £3.68 billion.

G4S had been fighting an initial hostile bid from GardaWorld of 190p per share.

Supermarket group Tesco slipped 2.1% to 224.1p on announcing that it would pay back £585 million to the UK government that had been offered in the form of tax relief due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Tesco said it had decided to pay back the business rates relief because its operations had proven resilient and some potential risks had passed.

Office hire group IWG dropped 6.9% to 327.2p after it launched a £300 million convertible bond offering to shore up its balance sheet while many people continue to avoid offices and work from home.

IWG said the funds would allow it to capitalise on acquisition opportunities and 'retain a strong financial position in the current market environment'.

Stiff drink purveyor Stock Spirits climbed 12.1% to 272.5p even as it posted a 22% fall in annual profit after rising revenue was offset by writedowns on its Italian brands and an Irish whiskey business.

Stock Spirits's underlying operating profit, however, improved 6% as the company sold more vodka and other spirits into its key markets of Poland and the Czech Republic. The company lifted its dividend 6.8% to 9.55c per share.

Cyber security group NCC rallied 6.9% to 217p on guiding for full-year adjusted operating earnings around the upper end of market expectations.

The market consensus range for NCC's adjusted earnings before interest and tax was currently £24.5 million to £33.3 million.


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