UK shares are up more than 2 per cent today — the first full trading day since a Brexit deal was struck between the UK and the EU.
The UK’s blue chip index had jumped 2.2 per cent since markets opened this morning (December 29) while the FTSE 250, more exposed to domestic markets, is up 2.4 per cent.
As markets closed just hours after the deal was announced last week (December 24), today marks the first full trading day since the news.
Now sitting at 6,644 points, today’s rise brings the FTSE 100 to its highest level since March 5, before global markets tumbled in the face of the global pandemic.
The markets have also likely been boosted by news of vaccine rollouts, as the most vulnerable in the UK continue to receive the jabs and the EU begins its vaccination process, and the US’s stimulus package.
On top of this, the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is expected to gain approval in the UK in the coming days.
AstraZeneca itself is among the FTSE’s highest risers today, with a 4.4 per cent jump in in its share price, while other companies benefitting from the news included drinks company Diageo, InterContinental Hotels Group, and B&Q and Screwfix parent company Kingfisher.
However banking shares continued to tumble, still haunted by the impact of the coronavirus on the economy.
The four biggest fallers in the FTSE today were Lloyds, Barclays, HSBC and Natwest, with Lloyds shares dropping 4 per cent.
Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: “The unwrapping of the Brexit deal and a stimulus package for the US economy have propelled shares higher in Europe, with another boost of optimism, now foundations are being laid for a sustained recovery.
“The mobilisation of huge vaccination programmes are an extra shot in the arm, helping to offset concerns about spikes in cases.”
Ms Streeter added that banking stocks had “given up some of their pre-Christmas gains” as worries about the potential long-term impact of Brexit and the coronavirus on financial services filtered through.
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