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FTSE reaches five-month high on new vaccine results

August Graham, PA City Reporter
·3-min read

Global markets were boosted on Monday on the news that another vaccine had shown positive results in trials.

Moderna revealed during the afternoon, UK time, that a Covid-19-busting vaccine was effective 94.5% of the time in combating the illness.

The FTSE steamed ahead on the news, adding 104.9 points at the end of the day to finish at 6,421.29, its highest point since early June.

The 1.7% rise made London’s top index one of the better performers on the day, beating both major New York measures.

The S&P 500 gained 1.1% while the Dow Jones was trading up 1.5% just after markets closed in Europe.

On the continent, the German Dax gained 0.5%, and the Cac 40 in Paris was up 1.7%.

The best-performing companies in London were unsurprisingly those that rely heavily on the economy reopening.

Like when Pfizer announced strong results last week, Rolls-Royce was the top of the pile on the FTSE 100, adding nearly 10% to its share price. Not far after were Whitbread, which owns Premier Inn, and British Airways parent IAG.

Shell and BP were also among the better performers, as the price of Brent crude oil jumped 3.1% to 44.12 US dollars per barrel.

“Similar to last Monday, the news that great progress been made in relation to a possible Covid-19 vaccine has boosted stocks,” said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

On the other side of the spectrum were companies that have seen some benefit from the lockdowns that Britain and the rest of the world has faced over the last few months.

Ocado, the online grocer, dropped over 4%, gambler Flutter Entertainment dropped 3.5%, and Just Eat Takeaway.com fell by more than 3%.

“Dealers are turning their back on the e-commerce companies as they will probably lose some of their edge to traditional shops should the health crisis be put to bed,” Mr Madden said.

There was little market-moving news on what was otherwise a quiet day for London’s top index, but Vodafone’s resilient results helped push the company close to the top of the FTSE 100.

Revenue may have fallen by 2.3% in the six months to the end of September, but operating profit hit 3.4 billion euros (£3 billion), from 577 million euros (£517 million) the same time last year. Shares rose 6.9%.

Mitchells & Butlers shares rose 10%, largely because of the vaccine news. However the owner of All Bar One and Toby Carvery also said that it would shut up to 20 pubs and restaurants amid tough restrictions on the industry.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Rolls-Royce, up 9.3p to 103p, Whitbread, up 273p to 3,054p, IAG, up 14.15p to 158.75p, Melrose Industries, up 12.6p to 161.2p, and Vodafone, up 8.26p to 127.78p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Ocado, down 94p to 2,189p, Rentokil Initial, down 20.2p to 522.2p, Flutter Entertainment, down 470p to 13,000p, Just Eat Takeaway.com, down 280p to 8,134p, and Segro, down 27.6p to 896.8p.