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FTSE moves higher despite drag from airline stocks amid travel caution

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PA City Staff
·3-min read
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Airline and travel stocks dragged on the markets amid fears that international holidays from the UK are likely to be heavily restricted this summer.

British Airways owner IAG, Tui and fellow rival EasyJet all slid lower, but it was not enough to upend the London markets which nudged higher after shaky sentiment among traders settled in afternoon trading.

The FTSE 100 closed 17.39 points, or 0.26%, higher at 6,726.1 on Monday.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “Sentiment in Europe is a bit fragile as the major indices are in positive territory following the negative start on Monday morning.

“It was confirmed that Germany’s lockdown has been extended until April 18, but the DAX 30 and the majority of other European indices finished higher today.

“Airline stocks are at the forefront of selling pressure due to worries about continental European economies enduring extended lockdowns and the possibility of the EU banning AstraZeneca vaccine exports to the UK.”

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones and S&P 500 lifted higher on the back of lower bond yields, helping to drive the improvement in Europe.

Meanwhile, in the Eurozone trading continued last week’s mixed sentiment, with the French Cac sliding into the red after it partially returned to lockdown measures over the weekend.

The German Dax increased by 0.25% and the French Cac moved 0.49% lower.

Sterling moved higher against the weak dollar but the currency was fairly calm as traders swapped from more volatile equity stocks.

The pound increased by 0.15% versus the US dollar to 1.385 and was down 0.44% against the euro at 1.161.

In company news, AstraZeneca was among the day’s biggest winners after new data from a US survey showed its Covid-19 vaccine offers 100% protection against severe disease.

The jab, which has been the subject of controversy in Europe over concerns about links to very rare blood clots, is 79% effective at preventing Covid-19 entirely according to the trial. It closed 234p higher at 7,344p.

B&Q owner Kingfisher made gains after it said the recent boom in demand for DIY helped spark a surge in profits.

The group, which also owns the Screwfix chain, said pre-tax profits ballooned 634% from £103 million to £756 million in the 12 months to the end of January.

Shares in the company moved 11.3p higher to 324p at the end of trading.

Elsewhere, consumer goods giant Reckitt Benckiser saw shares rise after Reuters reported the FTSE 100 firm is mulling the sale of its infant formula business in greater China.

It closed 174p higher at 6,488p as a result of the speculation.

The price of oil dipped lower as trading was also weighed by concerns over how recent case rises could impact international travel.

The price of Brent crude oil decreased by 0.56% to 64.21 dollars per barrel.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, up 50p at 1,165p, Kingfisher, up 11.3p at 324p, Rightmove, up 19.2p at 587p, and DCC, up 206p at 6,452p.

The biggest fallers on the index were IAG, down 10.75p at 195.95p, Rolls-Royce, down 5.1p at 111.9p, British Land, down 11.8p at 506.2p, and Melrose, down 3.95p at 171p.