The ondon markets continued their explosive gains earlier in the week with the FTSE 250 hitting a record high as further vaccine fears weighed on the pound.
Foreign exchange traders were shocked after the UK’s medical advisory body, MHRA, announced that children under 30 would be offered an alternative to the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine due to its association with rare blood clots.
The depreciation of the currency helped UK multinationals move higher, with the FTSE 100 nearly hitting a new 12-month high.
The FTSE 100 closed Wednesday with a rise of 61.77 points, or 0.91%, to 6,885.32 points.
Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, said: “As on Tuesday, the notable loss of the pound helped the FTSE rank first on the session leaderboard.
“It looks like while the UK blue-chip index and its mid-cap sibling are optimistic about the country’s return from the coronavirus, the pound sterling has been saddled with fears over the vaccination program.
“Compounding concerns raised by Sage’s warning yesterday that vaccine rollouts in the UK could slow dramatically in the coming weeks is the latest update to the Oxford MHRA vaccine.”
Sterling fell against the dollar, which itself fell quickly to a two-week low as the Federal Reserve is expected to continue to contain fiscal tightening.
The pound was down 0.51% against the US dollar to 1.375 and 0.6% against the euro to 1.157.
Elsewhere in Europe, markets were much quieter, with Germany’s Dax down 0.24% and France’s Cac down 0.01%.
Across the Atlantic, US markets opened slightly higher after Tuesday’s mildly negative session, with cruise stocks rallying on positive bookings from Carnival.
According to company news, Deliveroo made a profit on its first full trading day despite the riders’ strike over working conditions.
However, the takeaway company is down more than a quarter from its IPO price after being shunned by many big investors last week.
The company’s shares closed up 6 points to 286 points.
Royal Dutch Shell rallied after the oil giant said it expected positive adjusted earnings on the back of a recent hike in energy prices.
However, he also told investors that he expects the recent blizzard in Texas to negatively impact the company’s adjusted earnings of up to $ 200 million (£ 145 million) in the first three months of the fiscal year. It closed 14.8 points higher at 1,440.4 points.
Flutter, the owner of Paddy Power, fell sharply after Rupert Murdoch’s media group Fox filed an arbitration suit against him over the value of his stake in sports betting platform FanDuel. Flutter finished 210 points lower, 15,535 points.
Oil prices fell after OPEC + members decided to slightly increase production in May and June.
The price of Brent crude oil fell 0.41% to $ 62.48 per barrel.
The growth leaders in the FTSE 100 were Just Eat Takeaway (up 345 points to 7,165 points), DS Smith (up 12.1 points at 424.4 points), Informa (up 16 points at 586.6 points) and Pershing Square (up 70 pips at 2,720 pips).
The biggest losers were Flutter, which fell 210 pence to 15,535 points, the LSE, which fell 92 points to 7,278 pence, Renishaw, which fell 80 points to 6 445 points, and AstraZeneca, which fell 84 points to 7,099 points.