The FTSE 100 rose 89 points or 1.5% to 5,999 points, its highest level in three weeks, after global markets opened up on continued investor enthusiasm in the aftermath of Joe Biden's US election victory.

There were strong gains for house builders and mining shares as investors adopted a more 'risk-on' attitude.

Stocks gained despite continued strength in the pound, which rose to $1.315 against the US dollar. Gold was also higher at $1,960 per ounce, while Brent crude oil prices firmed to $40.40.


House builder Taylor Wimpey (TW.) said it expects to end the year with a net cash balance towards the upper end of its guidance after 'robust' sales in the second half, according to its trading statement.

The company projected it would end 2020 with a net cash balance towards the upper end of its guidance of between £550 million and £750 million, above the cash balance £545.7 million at the end of 2019 - subject to the timing of conditional land purchases. Shares jumped 11.7% to 137.76p.

Shares in UK and US bus and rail company First Group (FGP) rallied 5.7% to 47.8p after it announced it had agreed covenant amendments for the 31 March and 30 September 2021 testing dates with its lenders.

The prior net debt to EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortisation) level of 3.75 times has been increased to 5.5 times and 4.5 times for the March and September tests respectively.

Encouragingly, the firm also said it expected to report a small adjusted operating profit in the first half, which was ahead of its previous base case scenario.

Private equity investment trust HgCapital (HGT) reported third-quarter growth in net asset value (NAV) of 12.3% to 299.5p, outperforming the FTSE All-Share by 15.2%.

The total return of the shares for the three-month period to 30 September 2020 was 20.6%, giving a year-to-date return of 11.8%. Shares added 1.2% to 305.5p.

Shares in specialist international distribution and services group Bunzl (BNZL) rose 2.4% to £26.11 after it agreed to acquire SP Eqipamentos, a leading personal protection equipment distributor based in Brazil.

SPE generated revenues of £22 million last year, and the deal is expected to complete by the end of the month.

Ultra Electronics Holdings (ULE) reported its operating margins are slightly better than expected due to lower indirect costs related to the Covid-19 pandemic and robust core defence markets.

In a trading update on its performance over the nine months to 30 September 2020, the company said order intake remains strong with good revenue growth, as anticipated. Shares slipped 0.7% to £20.42.


GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) specialist HIV company ViiV Healthcare reported that interim analysis from the HPTN 084 study shows long-acting injectable cabotegravir administered every two months is 89% more effective than daily pills in preventing HIV in women.

This follows data from another study in men who have sex with men and transgender women which also demonstrated that cabotegravir was superior to oral pills. Shares added 1.2% to £14.15.

AstraZeneca (AZN) said its drug Calquence had received European Union approval for the treatment of adult patients with chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CCL) adding to approvals already received in the US and several other countries worldwide.

In Phase three trials Calquence combined with obinutuzumab and as a monotherapy reduced the risk of disease progression or death by 90% and 80% respectively compared with standard treatments. Shares were unchanged at to £84.80.


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Issue Date: 09 Nov 2020