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Market report: FTSE falls as Covid-19 deaths pass 1m worldwide

FTSE 100 was flat in early as traders reflected on the sobering thought that Covid-19 deaths worldwide have now passed one million. US markets made progress overnight ahead of the presidential election debate.

Here, Greggs (LON:GRG) said it is looking to reduce staff as the government's furlough scheme ends. This might mean reduced hours as an alternative, but the bakery said revenues are still well short of this time last year.

No such issues at B&M European Value Retail (LON:BME) as the FTSE100 group raised its profit forecast and said sales had continued to grow strongly in recent months. The basic homewares retailer has been a clear winner during lockdown with revenues 25% higher in the six months to September.

Elsewhere, in what might be the start of a trend South Korean pop group BTS became instant multi-millionaires as their Big Hit Entertainment record label made a storming start in first trading following an IPO.  Big Hit is now valued at £3.2bn.

Among the small caps, Turkey-based gold miner Ariana (LON:AAU) said it plans to pay a special dividend once its mooted joint venture deal with conglomerate Özaltin goes through. Ozaltin is taking majority stakes in several of Ariana’s projects.

Synairgen PLC (LON:SNG) has inked an agreement that will make available to patients an experimental drug that has shown early promise tackling the worst symptoms of the COVID-19. The managed access programme for its  inhaled interferon-beta treatment is being organised by Clinigen.

Echo Energy (LON:ECHO) says its Monte Aymond gas project in Argentina has potential to become an exciting commercial project. Development requires only limited amounts of capital and presents limited technical risk, it added.

Quick facts: Greggs PLC

Price: 2098 GBX

Market: LSE
Market Cap: £2.13 billion

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