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Market report: FTSE eyes US Presidential Election and Covid-19 mass testing optimism

FTSE100 opened higher as attention focused on the US presidential election and some better news on the COVID-19 vaccine and testing front. The blue-chip index rose 85 to 5,740 in early trades.

Britain is to trial a mass testing scheme in Liverpool to try to identify how widely coronavirus has spread. The pilot starts on Friday and will use PCR swab tests alongside newer systems that do not require labs.

AB Foods' revenue fell by 12% to £13bn in its latest full year while profit before tax dropped 40% to £686mln.  Both were impacted by the loss of sales when clothing arm Primark stores were closed during lockdowns.

Crest-Nicholson (LON:CRST) shares shot higher as it said its full-year profits were well ahead of market expectations. The FTSE 250 housebuilder will also reinstate its dividend with the next interim results.

Among the small caps, IXICO PLC (LON:IXI) landed three new contracts in the area of Alzheimer's disease. The data analytics specialist will work on three clinical trials through the contracts.

AFC Energy PLC (LON:AFC), the hydrogen power specialist, said its move into the commercial phase is already seeing results. It first contracts totaled more than £1mln and are already generating income, it added.

Oil group Touchstone Exploration Inc (LON:TXP) raised US$30mln via a share placing to advance programmes within the Ortoire project in Trinidad. The oiler spudded a fourth exploration well last week and is planning a fifth.

Quick facts: Crest Nicholson

Price: 304.8 GBX

LSE:CRST
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £7.83 m
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