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Brexit, US stimulus in focus as FTSE is flat at lunchtime

By BFN News | 12:05 PM | Thursday 03 December, 2020

The FTSE 100 was flat by midday at 6,469.58 after an up and down morning which mirrored volatility in sterling amid competing assessments over the chances of a Brexit deal. The relative strength or weakness of the pound against other major currencies impacts the value of the overseas earnings generated by index constituents. US futures markets suggested a slow start on Wall Street as investors await news on a potential fiscal stimulus package. Supermarket chains Sainsbury's and Morrisons announced that they will pay business rates in full, waiving their right to relief after a similar move by Tesco yesterday. The payments totalled £684 million between them. Sainsbury's shares were up 3% to 216.1p, while Morrisons shares were down 1% to 176.9p. Countryside Properties announced plans to separate its housebuilding business amid limited growth opportunities following increased focus on growing its regeneration business. Shares were up 3.2% to 455p. Fellow housebuilder MJ Gleeson was up 12.8% to 787.2p as it guided for performance ahead of expectations ahead of its AGM. Logistics company Clipper Logistics raised its earnings guidance and interim dividend payment as profit grew by more than a third in the first of the year as a pandemic-led pickup in e-commerce boosted demand for its services. The shares were up 3.1% to 505p. Educational technology firm RM gained 14% to 234.9p as it said it would beat expectations for the year to 30 November. Financial services company Standard Life Aberdeen said it had sold part of its stake in Indian subsidiary HDFC Life Insurance Company, raising approximately £172 million after taxes and expenses. The company's share price rose 1% in early trading to 286.1p. Public transport company Go-Ahead Group lifted its expectations for its London & international bus division, and kept its outlook on its rail division unchanged. Its shares climbed 4% to 892.5p. Savings and retirement company Phoenix Group announced plans to become a net-zero carbon business by 2050, while also reporting strong financial performance for the 12 months to the end of September 2020. Phoenix's share price was up 0.4% to 739.2p. Property developer St Modwen Properties has cut its debt and hailed a strong forward order book as it enters the last month of its financial year. Its share price moved 3.3% higher to 394p. At 12:05pm: (LON:CLG) Clipper Logistics share price was 0p at 479.5p (LON:CSP) Countryside Properties PLC share price was 0p at 412.4p (LON:GLE) Gleeson M J Group PLC share price was 0p at 650p (LON:MRW) Morrison Wm Supermarkets PLC share price was 0p at 173.7p (LON:SBRY) Sainsbury J PLC share price was 0p at 205.9p Story provided by

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