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FTSE recovers Omicron losses as variant fears ease further

The FTSE 100 closed 107.62 points, or 1.49%, higher, at 7,339.9 on Tuesday.


(Victoria Jones/PA)

(Victoria Jones/PA)

(Victoria Jones/PA)

The FTSE has recovered its losses since Omicron hit after positive comments from GlaxoSmithKline and Dr Anthony Fauci calmed traders further.

GSK said its antibody-based Covid-19 treatment is effective against all mutations of the new Omicron variant, boosting sentiment on Tuesday.

In London, mining and resources stocks were among the strongest performers after overnight trade figures from China showed a significant pick-up in commodity demand.

The FTSE 100 closed 107.62 points, or 1.49%, higher, at 7,339.9 on Tuesday.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “European markets have picked up where they left off yesterday, with the FTSE 100 back above 7,300, and back at the levels it was trading at prior to US Thanksgiving, when it closed at 7,301.

“This week’s mood is in stark contrast to the hope and fear that bedevilled sentiment last week, as evidence continues to grow that Omicron, while more transmissible, doesn’t appear to be as virulent when it comes to hospitalisations.

“The milder nature of the symptoms appears to be encouraging investors to look past, the uncertainty of the past week or so, and focus more on the global recovery story.”

Across the channel, the other major European markets saw even stronger gains, having previously seen heavy losses as the return of pandemic restrictions resulted in significant volatility.

The German Dax increased by 2.82% and the French Cac increased by 2.91%.

In the US, Wall Street opened higher again as traders cheered Dr Fauci’s statement that “it does not look like there’s a great degree of severity” to Omicron from initial data.

Meanwhile, sterling was cautious despite positive early spending figures from the British Retail Consortium.

The pound moved 0.02% lower versus the US dollar at 1.323, and increased 0.03% against the euro at 1.177.

In company news, FTSE 100 firm Informa made gains after revealing plans to offload its data and insights arm Informa Intelligence as part of its new growth strategy.

The publishing and exhibitions specialist also cheered investors as it said intends to hand them around £1 billion in returns through a share buy-back and special dividend next year.

It closed 17.2p higher at 496.9p.

Recruiter PageGroup also saw its shares rise after increasing its profit target for the third time in six months.

The company said the “positive momentum” and labour market trends it had already seen during 2021 “continued at both a regional and global level in the period”.

Shares rose by 25p to 678p at the close of play as a result.

The price of oil continued its momentum from Monday to jolt higher as the Chinese trade data painted a positive picture of recovering energy demand.

Brent crude increased 3.87% at 75.91 dollars per barrel when the London markets closed.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Anglo American, up 182.5p at 2,995p; Ferguson, up 685p at 12,255p; BHP, up 115p at 2,173.5p; Aveva Group, up 172p at 3,371p; and Rio Tinto, up 220.5p at 4,813p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were B&M European, down 12.4p at 627.6p; AstraZeneca, down 140p at 8,223p; Pearson, down 7p at 594p; Reckitt Benckiser, down 68p at 6,152p; and Vodafone, down 1p at 111.88p.