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Market report: Monday blues as FTSE opens red despite optimism on Christmas Oxford vaccine

FTSE 100 eased lower as investors weighed up mixed news on the coronavirus pandemic. Reports that the Oxford vaccine will be ready by Christmas had little impact and the blue-chip index dropped 16 to 5,844.

High street chemist chain Boots is set to introduce a COVID-19 test that can provide a result in 12 minutes. The nasal swab test cost £120 and was accurate in 97% of cases in trials.

Royal Mail is taking on 33,000 temps over Christmas or 10,000 more than usual to cope with an expected surge in online shopping and parcel deliveries. The postal group recently introduced a 72p parcel pickup service. Britain’s banks might soon be allowed to resume dividends again after they were halted by the regulator in March.

The Bank of England will insist the banks maintain their financial strength and continue to support business struggling due to coronavirus.

Among the small caps, Alien Metals (LON:UFO) has been awarded an exploration licence in Greenland. It is near to the Citronen zinc-lead project which is one of the world’s largest of its kind.

Sensyne Health PLC (LON:SENS) has signed a research agreement with Milton Keynes University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. The biotech will add 650,000 unique patient records to its own dataset to apply clinical artificial intelligence into research.

Advanced Oncotherapy PLC (LON:AVO) is raising £7.7mln to strengthen its balance sheet as it prepares to make its proton beam cancer treatment fully operational. The project will be launched next year.

Quick facts: Alien Metals Ltd

Price: 1.24 GBX

LSE:UFO
Market: LSE
Market Cap: £39.54 m
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