London close: FTSE finishes higher on positive vaccine news

16 October 2020

(Sharecast News) - London's top-flight index finished in positive territory on Friday, as investors weighed concerns about tightening Covid-19 restrictions with positive developments on the vaccine front.
The <strong>FTSE 100</strong> ended the session up 1.49% at 5,919.58, while the <strong>FTSE 250</strong> was 0.09% weaker at 17,822.91.

Sterling was stronger against its major trading pairs, last rising 0.2% on the dollar to $1.2935, and advancing 0.13% against the euro to &euro;1.1036.

"Markets pushed upwards in the final session of the week, with markets regaining lost ground on the news that Pfizer could release a vaccine as soon as November," said <em>IG</em> senior market analyst Joshua Mahony.

"Meanwhile, the possibility that <strong>Pfizer</strong> could apply for a US emergency allowance to fast-track their vaccine has helped ease fears over the recent introduction of renewed restrictions throughout Europe.

"Of course, Pfizer's timeline that a vaccine could be approved in just a month remains dependent upon positive research outcomes between now and then."

However, Mahony said the company's willingness to map out an exact date did convey an "admirable degree of confidence" that the vaccine was good enough.

"From a UK perspective, ONS data shows that as many as 1 in 160 people in England could be currently infected with the virus, with the continued growth in cases bringing expectations of further restrictions."

The FTSE had fallen sharply on Thursday, as countries across Europe implemented further restrictions and London was moved to the so-called 'tier-2'.

On the Brexit front, meanwhile, reports during the afternoon suggested that talks between the UK and the EU were "over", according to officials at 10 Downing Street.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson earlier said the UK needed to prepare to trade with the 27-member bloc from 1 January without an agreement.

"The sticking points continue to be around fishing rights, level playing field provisions, as well as arbitration and governance benchmarks," said <em>CMC Markets</em> analyst Michael Hewson.

"With French President [Emmanuel] Macron also rattling a 'no deal' sabre it seems likely that we could well see some further twists and turns yet."

In equity markets, engine maker <strong>Rolls-Royce</strong> surged 13.74%, after Europe's aviation regulator said the <strong>Boeing</strong> 737 MAX is safe enough to return to the skies before the end of the year.

Luxury brand <strong>Burberry</strong> rallied 3.16% following well-received third-quarter results from <strong>LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton</strong>.

<strong>Just Eat Takeaway</strong> was 3.76% higher after an upgrade to 'buy' at <em>HSBC</em>, while Premier Inn owner <strong>Whitbread</strong> was boosted 2.11% by an upgrade to 'buy' at <em>Berenberg</em>.

<strong>Dixons Carphone</strong> and <strong>JD Sports Fashion</strong> were both lifted by upgrades at <em>RBC Capital Markets</em>, by 3.07% and 2.86%, respectively.

Hedge fund <strong>Man Group</strong> gained 4.06% after it reported a 4% rise in third-quarter funds under management partly thanks to "robust" net inflows, although it also struck a note of caution about the outlook.

Outsourcer <strong>Serco</strong> rocketed 16.55% after upgrading its 2020 guidance thanks to strong revenue growth in the third quarter and good cost control.

<strong>IAG</strong> reversed earlier losses to eke out gains of 0.02%, after the Information Commissioner's Office fined British Airways &#163;20m for a data breach affecting more than 400,000 customers.

On the downside, pub chain <strong>J D Wetherspoon</strong> plunged 19.43% after it swung to an annual loss as it felt the full impact of the coronavirus lockdown and said the government's latest set of curbs had led to a 15% fall in like-for-like sales in the first 11 weeks of the current fiscal year.

The company reported a pre-tax loss of &#163;34m compared with &#163;102m profit a year ago.

Revenue fell by a third to &#163;1.26bn, and the final dividend was scrapped.

<strong>Market Movers</strong>

FTSE 100 (UKX) 5,919.58 1.49%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 17,822.91 -0.09%
techMARK (TASX) 3,824.22 1.02%

<strong>FTSE 100 - Risers</strong>

Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 221.90p 13.74%
Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 3,214.00p 5.02%
Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 9,980.00p 3.98%
Experian (EXPN) 3,094.00p 3.84%
Relx plc (REL) 1,710.50p 3.57%
Schroders (SDR) 2,828.00p 3.47%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 130.10p 3.27%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,534.50p 3.16%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 313.20p 3.06%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 799.60p 2.86%

<strong>FTSE 100 - Fallers</strong>

Land Securities Group (LAND) 525.20p -2.83%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 536.80p -2.40%
BT Group (BT.A) 100.40p -1.76%
Taylor Wimpey (TW.) 116.65p -1.60%
British Land Company (BLND) 355.90p -1.52%
SEGRO (SGRO) 922.40p -0.84%
Persimmon (PSN) 2,510.00p -0.63%
Berkeley Group Holdings (The) (BKG) 4,326.00p -0.44%
Tesco (TSCO) 214.30p -0.28%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 4,646.50p -0.24%

<strong>FTSE 250 - Risers</strong>

Serco Group (SRP) 138.00p 16.55%
Babcock International Group (BAB) 257.50p 6.67%
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 112.55p 5.38%
Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 9,980.00p 3.98%
FirstGroup (FGP) 48.76p 3.97%
Oxford Biomedica (OXB) 812.00p 3.70%
Genus (GNS) 4,116.00p 3.53%
Wood Group (John) (WG.) 215.50p 3.46%
Meggitt (MGGT) 292.80p 3.43%
Oxford Instruments (OXIG) 1,678.00p 3.42%

<strong>FTSE 250 - Fallers</strong>

Wetherspoon (J.D.) (JDW) 780.00p -19.43%
Shaftesbury (SHB) 469.00p -5.94%
St. Modwen Properties (SMP) 317.00p -4.80%
Derwent London (DLN) 2,658.00p -4.33%
WH Smith (SMWH) 943.00p -4.07%
GCP Student Living (DIGS) 116.80p -3.64%
Trainline (TRN) 331.40p -3.38%
Jupiter Fund Management (JUP) 232.00p -3.27%
Fisher (James) &amp; Sons (FSJ) 1,264.00p -3.07%
Capital &amp; Counties Properties (CAPC) 111.20p -2.97%