The FTSE 100 rallied strongly through the late morning trading session on Friday to give bulls a glimmer of hope of closing a pretty dismal week for UK stocks on the front foot.

Banks led the way after Barclays (BARC) posted better-than-expected earnings, although industrials, oil and aerospace were also in the ascendant.

At 12.40pm, the benchmark FTSE 100 was up 1.5% at 5,874.84, while the mid cap FTSE 250 was also higher, adding 1% at 18,077.14.

The rise comes after the conclusion of a more civilized US presidential debate that most pundits agreed wouldn't much change the status of the race.


Barclays soared more than 8% to 113.05p having reported a jump in third-quarter profit to £1.1 billion due to an absence of Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) provisions which weighed on previous results.

The bank's credit impairment charge was £0.6 billion, up 32% year-on-year, but down 63% versus the prior quarter.

Banking peers Lloyds (LLOY) and HSBC (HSBA) were also lifted close on 5% a piece on the announcement.

Retirement homes builder and operator McCarthy & Stone (MCS) soared 40% at 116.5p on news that it had agreed to be acquired by a fund managed by private equity group Lone Star for around £630 million.

McCarthy & Stone investors have been offered 115p cash per share by Lone Star Real Estate Fund VI, representing a 39% premium to the company's closing price on Thursday.

Elsewhere, Intercontinental Hotels (IHG) shed more than 2% to £41.60 after it reported a 53% slump in third-quarter room revenue as the hospitality sector continued to be battered by the Covid-19 pandemic.

On a slightly more positive note, the fall for the third quarter wasn't as steep as the 75% drop recorded for the second.

Bourse operator London Stock Exchange (LSE) dipped 0.8% to £84.51 as it reported a 2% uptick in third-quarter revenue, led by a rise in its post-trade clearing business.

London Stock Exchange said it expected its planned acquisition of financial data group Refinitiv to be wrapped up in the first quarter of 2021.

Plastic products supplier Essentra (ESNT) nudged 0.6% to 264.8p, even as it reported a 6.7% decline in third-quarter sales.

Weakness at Essentra's packaging division was partially offset by an improved performance at its components business.


Infrastructure services group Nexus Infrastructure (NEXS:AIM) slumped more than 4% to 130p, having guided for a full-year loss, though at an improved level compared to its expectations in June.

Clinical technology group Sensyne Health (SENS:AIM) rallied 6.5% to 98.5p as it formed a research collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb.

Hospitality-focused technology firm Vianet (VNET:AIM) jumped 7% to 68.5p on announcing first-half trading ahead of its Covid-19-revised forecasts.

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Issue Date: 23 Oct 2020