London markets continued an active week, with the FTSE-250 index hitting a record high as vaccination fears weighed on the pound.
Foreign exchange traders were shocked after the UK’s medical advisory body, the MHRA, announced that an alternative to the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine would be offered to those under the age of 30 due to its association with rare blood clots.
The fall in the currency helped UK multinationals move higher, with the FTSE-100 now nearly hitting a new 12-month high.
The FTSE-100 closed Wednesday with an increase 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.
“Heightened concerns over Sage’s warning yesterday that vaccine rollouts in the UK could slow dramatically in the coming weeks, prompted the latest update to the Oxford MHRA vaccine.”
Sterling fell against the dollar, which itself fell quickly, falling to a two-week low as the Federal Reserve is expected to continue to contain its tightening policy.
The pound fell 0.51% against the US dollar to hit 1.375 USD and 0.6% against the single currency to 1.157 euros.
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.
In company news, Deliveroo achieved profits on its first full-time job despite riders’ strike over working conditions.
However, the takeaway company is down more than a quarter from its offering after it was abandoned 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 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.
The growth leaders in the FTSE-100 were Just Eat Takeaway (an increase of 345 points to 7,165 points), DS Smith (an increase of 12.1 points at 424.4 points), Informa (an increase of 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.