FTSE nears three-month high as Boris Johnson confirms reopening plans


Lucy Harley-McKeown
Tue, 6 April 2021, 8:36 am

European markets were sent higher on Tuesday as traders returned from the long bank holiday weekend, and had the first chance to digest positive news of lowered coronavirus caseloads in the UK and a solid US jobs report. 

The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) closed down 1.2% higher by mid-afternoon in London, having hit a three-month high earlier in the day. Meanwhile the DAX (^GDAXI) was up 0.8%. In France, the CAC 40 (^FCHI) was up 0.5%. 

The FTSE 250 (^FTMC) was also up 1.3%, returning it to its pre-pandemic levels. 

Equities rose despite news of rising COVID-19 cases across Europe and Germany, alongside prolonged supply issues hampering the vaccine rollout across the continent. 

UK prime minister Boris Johnson on Monday night had confirmed the next stage of England’s lockdown easing roadmap would go ahead, with a plan to roll out COVID passports. These will prove if someone has had a vaccine, has tested negative or has immunity and theoretically will allow for a faster reopening of the economy. 

WATCH: Boris Johnson confirms further easing of lockdown 

 0:00 3:28   COVID-19: Roadmap on track – PM approves further easing of lockdown restrictions on 12 April

Strength in the FTSE was offset by a weaker pound. Sterling was 0.5% against the US dollar at $1.383 and 0.5% lower against the Euro at €1.170.

US stocks opened lower, following a record close for the S&P 500 (^GSPC) on Monday on signs of an economic rebound stateside. Later in the morning they painted more of a mixed picture, with the S&P 500 swinging 0.2% higher, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) sinking 0.2% and the Nasdaq (^IXIC) rising around 0.5%. 

READ MORE: Brexit: Retail investors continue flight from UK equities

In Asia, equities had a mixed day. Japan’s Nikkei (^N225) closed 1.30% lower while the Hong Kong Hang Seng (^HSI) was up 2%. The Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) fell 0.1%; and the South Korean’s KOSPI (^KS11) was down 0.2%. The moves come following reports that China’s central bank had asked the nation’s major lenders to curtail loan growth for the rest of the year.

Oil bounced back, as expectations of a breakthrough in talks to revive an Iranian nuclear accord were scaled back, with reduced odds that crude production flows from the company would pick up.

The commodity was down about 4% a day earlier. This was partly due to OPEC and allies agreeing to monthly production hikes from May to July.

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