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FTSE slips despite weak sterling amid EU vaccine concerns

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PA City Staff
·3-min read
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The FTSE 100 finished lower amid concerns over vaccine distribution in the EU and the threat of a potential vaccine export ban.

The decline in London’s leading market came despite a slump in value of the pound, which would typically benefit large London-based multinationals, after disappointing jobs figures on Tuesday morning.

David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said that the rise in the claimant count to 7.5% from 7.2% impacted on sentiment, while the currency was also pressed by a strong US dollar.

The pound decreased by 0.63% versus the US dollar to 1.377 and was down 0.07% against the euro at 1.161.

Meanwhile, the FTSE 100 closed 26.91 points, or 0.4%, lower at 6,699.19 on Tuesday, as airline stocks suffered another slump.

The other major Eurozone markets were also lower as cases continue to rise across many European countries and vaccination distribution continues to fall below UK levels.

The German Dax decreased by 0.03% and the French Cac moved 0.39% lower.

Mr Madden added: “The EU’s vaccination distribution scheme is underperforming in comparison with Britain’s programme, and now fears of another wave of the virus in mainland Europe have sparked worries that several countries in the region will have to reopen their economies later than anticipated.

“The mood isn’t awful, traders aren’t running for the hills but there is a sense of fatigue that the restrictive climate will drag on a bit longer.”

In company news, Rolls-Royce slid in value after Norway blocked the sale of its Bergen Engines arm to Russia’s biggest train maker on national security grounds.

The move marks a set-back for Rolls, which is aiming to raise at least £2 billion from asset sales by early next year.

It therefore saw shares closed down 6.6p at 105.3p.

Housebuilder Crest Nicholson saw shares jump after its sales bounced on the back of the stamp duty holiday.

It said it will make more profit than analysts had predicted as a result of the Government’s move to cut the rate to 0% for all properties costing £500,000 or less during the pandemic.

Shares closed 24p higher at 399.2p.

Time Out plunged lower after it confirmed it has pulled plans to open a food market at London’s Waterloo and is currently reviewing a potential equity raise.

Shares in the business slid by 8p to 38.5p after it said it would still need further funds despite withdrawing plans for the market amid an impact from coronavirus on its events and publishing operations.

Cineworld shares closed 6.35p lower at 104.95p after it confirmed it plans to reopen its 127 UK outlets in May.

The price of oil tumbled due to the growing concerns over how European restrictions could hit travel.

The price of Brent crude oil decreased by 3.45% to 62.39 dollars per barrel.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were United Utilities, up 24.4p to 910.8p, Severn Trent, up 61p to 2,295p, Bunzl, up 56p to 2,353p, BAE Systems, up 11.7p to 500p, and Pennon Group, up 21.8p to 996.2p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Rolls-Royce, down 6.6p to 105.3p, IAG, down 8.6p to 187.35p, BP, down 11.5p to 295.75p, Antofagasta, down 61.5p to 1,660p, and Shell ‘A’, down 48.6p to 1,436.2p.