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The FTSE 100 index closed down 0.68 per cent or 43.16 points to 6,338.94 this afternoon.

News of potentially effective Covid-19 vaccines has been countered by concerns over the logistical challenges of ensuring mass access. 

Official figures show the economy bounced back by 15.5 per cent in the three months to September as coronavirus cases fell and shops, bars and restaurants were allowed to reopen – but it was already slowing down before the latest lockdown.

WH Smith has fallen into a deep loss in the past 12 months amid the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Its £226million loss is three times more than analysts feared after forecasters previously described 2020 as a ‘write-off’ year for the retailer. 

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Private equity group Apollo Global Management said it does not intend to make any offer to acquire the bookmaker William Hill, which in September agreed to be bought by American casino operator Caesars Entertainment.