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FTSE 100 rises as travel companies rally

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August Graham, PA City Reporter
·3-min read
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London’s top index was comfortably in the green on Monday as its travel firms celebrated the potential return of holidays.

Reports from Sunday that US citizens might be allowed to travel to Europe this summer once they have been vaccinated lifted aeroplane engine maker Rolls-Royce by 6% while IAG, which owns British Airways, jumped 4.2%.

They helped pull London’s FTSE 100 index up 0.4%, or 24.56 points by the end of the day, reaching 6,963.12.

“Travel stocks soared higher during the London session today as hopes lifted that a big rescue could now be on the cards for the summer season, with the introduction of vaccine passports,” said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susannah Streeter.

“The prospects of vaccine passports put a spring in the step of IAG, the owner of British Airways and jet engine maker Rolls-Royce which were the top risers on the FTSE 100, helping propel the index into positive territory.”

However, it is still unclear if the Government will lift its restrictions on Brits holidaying abroad. Ministers are expected to confirm early next month on the possibility of holiday travel restarting in some form on May 17 at the earliest.

Continuing the good news for the sector, the top performers on the smaller FTSE 250 index included travel companies Tui and easyJet.

The FTSE’s rise was also aided by miners, who were boosted as the price of copper hit 10-year highs.

In the US, the S&P 500 rose 0.2%, while the Dow Jones was flat as markets closed in Europe.

Germany’s Dax closed up 0.1%, while the Cac in Paris was up 0.3%.

Sterling gained, with one pound buying 1.3887 dollars, up 0.1%, or 1.1495 euros, up 0.2%.

In company news, publisher Pearson said that its sales rose 5% in the first three months of the year despite facing Covid-19 problems as online learning at schools and universities lifted the company. Shares rose 3.6% following the news.

Hostelworld shares rose 1.4% after close to one in three shareholder votes were cast against a pay deal it had awarded to its bosses.

Funeral provider Dignity, whose board was last week taken over by the company’s biggest shareholder, said it was looking for three new directors following the coup. Shares rose 0.6%.

Finally shares in Standard Life Aberdeen rose 1.7% after the company announced a rebrand to Abrdn.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Rolls-Royce, up 6.06p at 107.82p; Antofagasta, up 78.5p at 1,906p; IAG, up 8.26p at 205p; Melrose, up 6.6p at 170.05p; and Informa, up 20.6p at 570.6p.

The biggest fallers of the day were Diageo, down 80.5p at 3,215.5p; Just Eat Takeaway, down 157p at 7,818p; Coca-Cola HBC, down 47p at 2,487p; Ocado, down 41p at 2,195p; and United Utilities, down 16p at 943p.