UK markets have been lifted following an appearance by Bank of England governor Andrew Bailey before the Treasury Select Committee yesterday (2 September) in which he said UK interest rates could go into negative territory and expressed support for the end to the government's furlough scheme. But the UK government has also had to fend off concerns about the efficiency of its coronavirus testing regime, which has meant some people being directed hundreds of miles to get tested. The FTSE 100 is 0.8% or 44.85 points higher at 5,985.80 and the FTSE 250 has nudged up 0.6% or 99.25 points at 17,803.67. Pharmaceutical company GSK has bounced 0.4% to £14.95 and Sanofi has buoyed 0.6% to 85.7p as the drugmakers announced they would begin a phase 1/2 clinical trial for their potential COVID-19 vaccine, with the first results from the study expected in early December 2020. Melrose Industries has soared 10% to 110.6p on the news that it would make a 'significant reduction' in its GKN Aerospace workforce in the second half of the year, following an 18% decline in sales in its aerospace division. The company announced a statutory pre-tax loss of £685m and an adjusted pre-tax loss of £40m for the first half of 2020. Online trading platform CMC Markets has climbed 6.6% to 332.5p after it said it expected fiscal 2021 net operating income would exceed the upper end of current market consensus of £287.6m, as strong trading continued. PPHE Hotel has booked a 2.3% rise to £10.74 following its half-year results in which it reported a 60.2% fall in revenue and an EBITDA loss due to reduced demand and property closures in the second quarter, but said that 84% of its property portfolio has re-opened. The accommodation group has seen a 'sharp rebound' in performance particularly at weekends in its flagship properties in London and Amsterdam. Tritax Big Box REIT has nudged up 1.1% to 156.5p after announcing it had completed the sale of its Chesterfield asset for £57.3m. The price was a premium to the 30 June 2020 book value and reflected a return of 18.5% per annum. Curtis Banks has fallen 1.4% to 216p as the self-invested pension plan provider maintained its interim dividend despite a fall in profit on client portfolio impairment from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit uncertainty. IT group Kainos is 4% lower to £10.76 after it reported that trading since April to date continued to be 'resilient' across its businesses and anticipated that annual results would be in line with market expectations.
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