UK stocks jumped 1 per cent on Monday as investors bet on a stimulus-led economic revival, with focus also turning to the U.S. and European quarterly earnings season for signs of a pickup in activity following the easing of coronavirus lockdowns.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 was up 1.3 per cent, with fewer than 10 stocks in the red in early trading, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 added 1.0 per cent, led by the auto, personal goods and mining sectors.
Asian shares also began the week on an optimistic note, climbing toward five-month peaks even as some U.S. states reported record new COVID-19 cases.
“July and August are generally weaker months for markets, but this time they are being pushed higher on liquidity infusion, upbeat corporate earnings updates and positive news on the COVID-19 vaccine” said Keith Temperton, analyst at Lombard Forte.
The FTSE 100 rebounded about 26 per cent from its March lows on a raft of monetary and fiscal stimulus, but struggled in July to build on a three-month winning streak as the relentless spread of the coronavirus raises fears of another round of lockdowns further damaging the global economy.
Rating agency Moody’s warned on Friday that Britain will suffer the sharpest peak-to-trough economic slump of any major economy this year, while the health crisis will push up national debt as a share of GDP by nearly a quarter.
Brexit negotiations are also back in focus with Britain urging businesses and individuals to prepare for the Dec. 31 end of the transition period. Cabinet Minister Michael Gove said on Sunday progress was being made in talks, but there were still divisions.
In thin company news, Primark-owner AB Foods was nearly flat as the fashion retailer said it would not take advantage of a British government scheme to pay employers for bringing back staff from furlough, eschewing a bonus of about 30 million pounds ($38 million)