UK stocks opened higher on Friday after Barclays (BARC) posted better-than-expected earnings and retirement home company McCarthy & Stone (MCS) soared on a takeover bid.

At 0824, the benchmark FTSE 100 index was up 42 points or 0.7% at 5,827.72 with banks and house builders leading the way.

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.

LARGE AND MID-CAP MOVERS

Barclays gained 4.3% to 108.71p, 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.

McCarthy & Stone, which builds and operates retirement homes, soared 41% to 117p 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 0.3% to £42.50 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) was flat at £85.16 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) added 0.2% to 263.6p, 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.

AIM ROUND-UP

Infrastructure services group Nexus Infrastructure (NEXS:AIM) slumped 7.5% to 125.75p, 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) gained 6.9% to 98.9p as it formed a research collaboration with Bristol Myers Squibb.

Hospitality-focused technology firm Vianet (VNET:AIM) gained 5.8% to 67.7p on announcing first-half trading ahead of its Covid-19-revised forecasts.

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Issue Date: 23 Oct 2020