FTSE 100 rises before Boris Johnson reveals details of new Covid plan

Stock market creeps up 0.49% or 31 points to 6,382 after Oxford and AstraZeneca announce vaccine success with Boris Johnson set to reveal details of new Covid winter battle plan later today

  • City awaits Boris Johnson’s plans for a strengthened three-tier system of rules
  • FTSE 100 index of Britain’s leading firms up by 0.49% or 31 points at 6,382 today
  • Data shows UK-made vaccine can prevent up to 90% of people getting Covid

The London stock market edged up today as the City awaits Boris Johnson’s plans for a strengthened three-tier system of coronavirus restrictions to replace the national lockdown in England.

The FTSE 100 index of Britain’s leading firms was up by 0.49 per cent or 31 points at 6,382 in early trading this morning.

The Prime Minister will detail his winter strategy this afternoon, with a proposal to deploy a major testing scheme in an attempt to winner over rebels on the Conservative backbenches.

It comes as data from AstraZeneca and Oxford University shows a vaccine developed in the UK can prevent up to 90 per cent of people from getting Covid-19.

However shares in Swedish-British pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca fell 1.1 per cent, defying expectations for a bounce and underperforming the wider market.   

PAST WEEK: The FTSE 100 indxt has had a topsy-turvey past week before rising this morning

PAST MONTH: The FTSE 100 has been rising this month, helped by vaccine breakthroughs

PAST YEAR: The FTSE 100 has recovered much of its losses since the start of the pandemic

Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, said: ‘AstraZeneca has been on a disappointing slide this morning, as the efficacy rates for its vaccine fell short of its rivals.

‘With the bar set high by Pfizer and Moderna, even though the late stage trials were better than expected, AstraZeneca’s shares didn’t get a booster shot after it said efficacy results came in on average at 70 per cent.

‘However, depending on the doses given and the time frames between them, efficacy was as high as 90 per cent and the vaccine is being sent for immediate regulatory approval. Regulators have already been crawling all over the data on a rolling basis so it’s hoped it’ll get the green light fast.

‘It has though added to the overall positivity washing around the financial markets about a faster end to the pandemic, with several options for health services around the world.’ 

Today, Mr Johnson is set to tell MPs that non-essential shops can open in all three tiers after the current restrictions expire on December 2, in a boost for retailers.


The PM will set out plans to allow a small number of households across the UK to mix over a limited number of days at Christmas, but is not expected to give specifics.

Appearing virtually in the Commons from quarantine, Mr Johnson will reveal major rapid testing programmes for all areas forced into the highest tier of restrictions.

He will also set out a trial of the repeat testing of close contacts of individuals who test positive for Covid-19 to prevent them from having to isolate. 

More areas are expected to enter the higher end of the tiered-system next month, which will be strengthened to safeguard the gains made in the four-week lockdown. 

A South Korean dealer works at Hana Bank in Seoul today. Asian markets mostly rose overnight

Ministers will on Thursday set out what tier each area will enter, while one easing expected is to the 10pm curfew rule for pubs and restaurants. 

Overnight, Asian markets mostly rose but investor sentiment is divided between optimism over vaccine developments and concern about surging virus cases.

In the US, a lack of movement in stimulus talks on Capitol Hill and a spat between the White House and Federal Reserve on cash for emergency lending tempered moods.

Hopes that the world can begin to return to some form of normal in the new year have been rising this month after top pharma giants announced vaccine trial results.

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