The UK blue-chip index recorded triple-digit gains as fears of COVID variant subside
- FTSE makes another strong showing, rising 1.70%
- Investors continue to put Monday’s decline behind them
- the day’s top performer
5:00pm: FTSE rallies for a second straight day
The FTSE 100 closed higher Wednesday as investors extended Tuesday’s rally, bolstered by airlines and engineering stocks.
At the close, the UK blue-chip index increased 117 points, or 1.70%, to hit 6,998, just under the session high of 7,007.
“Tuesday’s rally has extended into a second day, and Monday’s sudden drop looks more and more like a sudden air pocket that produced excitement but little lasting impact,” noted Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at online trading group IG.
“At present it appears growth is being left behind, or at least technology stocks are, in part due to caution after ’s results last night. European indices are sharply higher, recovering from a tough few sessions, If Monday does turn out to have been a sudden summer squall the strength of this current bull market will be reaffirmed once again, and will also bolster the ongoing parallels with 2013 and 2017, which both followed on the heels of volatile years but were themselves examples of quiet but relentless equity market rallies.”
The top gainer was (), which increased by 7.47% to 7,946p.
4.15pm: Market’s good mood continues as Monday blues are banished
Leading shares are clinging onto the 7000 level as investors shrug off the concerns about the Delta variant which dominated trading at the start of the week.
The FTSE 100 is up 120.33 points or 1.75% at 7001.46, having earlier touched 7007.
The FTSE 250 mid-cap index is also moving sharply higher, up 1.99% at 22,560.29.
Retail shares are on the rise after the unexpected burst of good news from (), up 8.49%.
But other stocks benefitting from the easing of restrictions – travel, hospitality and leisure – are also on the way up.
Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “Less than two days after Monday’s sharp falls, markets have undergone a complete and utter mood change. The concern that rising Delta infections will slow down the economic rebound, appears to have been replaced by optimism that today’s better than expected company reports speak to a consumer that is down but by no means out.
“That’s not to say Monday’s concerns have disappeared completely, but today’s trading updates appear to have had the effect of adding some calming balm, on some early week frayed nerves.”
A strong performance so far on Wall Street is also helping, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average currently up 205 points or 0.59%.
3.43pm: Working from home warning if hospital admissions continue to rise
If COVID-19 related hospital admissions exceed expectations now everything has been thrown open again, scientific advisors are reportedly advising ministers to take early action to deal with this.
According to the i newspaper, this could mean the government acting in the first week of August to prevent the NHS being overwhelmed, just weeks after all restrictions were lifted.
At the peak of the third wave – expected at the end of next month – hospital admissions are forecast to reach between 1000 and 2000 a day. But with a figure of 745 a day in mid-July – before ‘Freedom Day’ – and admissions said to be doubling every three weeks, that could mean a peak of 3,000 by the end of August.
If this happens Sage is advising the return of some precautionary measures, such as mandatory face masks and encouraging people to work from home again.
This is likely to go down very badly with people fed up of any form of restrictions.
It would also be bad news for property companies, who are hoping to fill some of their empty office blocks, as well as transport companies who have already seen revenues plunge during previous lockdowns.
And with no office workers in city centres again, the revival in retail and restaurants could be short lived if some of their key sites are in the middle of a ghost town.
3.20pm: US markets give London new boost
And we’re back above 7000 – just.
Buoyed by a strong start on Wall Street, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average is now up 259 points or 0.75%, the FTSE 100 has added 121.26 points or 1.76% to 7002.39.
() continues to lead the way, up 8.39% after it brought forward its trading statement to unveil a better than expected performance.
Shrugging off Delta variant fears, aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce PLC () has climbed 7.77% while British Airways owner International Consolidated Airlines is up 6.38%.
Meanwhile in the crazy world of crypto, Bitcoin has rebounded above the key US$30,000 threshold after dropping below it in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
In early afternoon trading in London on Wednesday, the digital currency was up 6.3% in the last 24 hours at US$31,604, its highest level since Monday morning.
2.44pm: Wall Street opens on the front foot
The main indices on Wall Street managed to open in the green on Wednesday as positive earnings lifted optimism among traders.
Shortly after the opening bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 0.41% at 34,655 while the S&P 500 climbed 0.34% to 4,337 and the Nasdaq rose 0.16% to 14,521.
Early winners of the session included Verizon, which rose 1.9% to US$56.63 after upgrading its guidance, and Coca Cola, which jumped 2.4% to US$57.16 after receiving a quarterly revenue bump.
Back in London, the FTSE 100 was continuing to move higher into late afternoon,…
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