FTSE 100 started on the backfoot even though the EU indicated its willingness to keep going with Brexit talks. London’s big cap index shed 13 points to 5,871 in early deals.
Greater Manchester may be placed in the most severe tier of restrictions if local leaders don’t find an agreement with Westminster by noon. The deadline comes after 10 days of discussions over financial support.
Heathrow, meanwhile, is introducing an optional rapid COVID-19 test for passengers flying to Hong Kong and Italy. It is the first such test available in the UK and costs £80. Housebuilder Bellway says orders at record levels and it is resuming dividends. Profits tumbled last year due to COVID-19, however, and the builder has set aside £47mln to beef up fire safety at its apartment blocks.
Among the small caps, Open Orphan’s (LON:ORPH) hVIVO subsidiary has won a UK government contract worth up to £10mln to develop a coronavirus (COVID-19) human challenge study model to help speed up the development of a working vaccine. The model development involves the manufacture of the virus.
Symphony Environmental Technologies PLC (LON:SYM) said its French associate has completed a €6mln finance round for a green algae project. The proceeds will pay for the start of construction at Port St Louis, near Marseille.
Feedback PLC (LON:FDBK) is to team up with Axial Medical Printing to add 3D imaging to its flagship Bleepa medical imaging platform. Axial3D uses AI technologies to create 3D reconstructions of individual organs.