FTSE 100 Set for Best Month Ever on Vaccine, Recovery Hopes

Nov 30 (Reuters) – London’s FTSE 100 rose on Monday and was on course for its biggest monthly gain ever as investors bet on a working COVID-19 vaccine to speed up an economic recovery next year.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 recovered early declines to trade up 0.3% by 0856 GMT, extending a rally of more than 14% this month.

LLoyds Banking Group gained 1.5% after appointing Charlie Nunn, currently head of wealth and personal banking at HSBC, as its next chief executive officer.

The domestically-focussed FTSE 250, considered a barometer for Brexit sentiment, added 0.4%, tracking its best month since the global financial crisis in 2009.

“There is tentative optimism that this could be the week where Brexit talks finally reach a breakthrough, although we have been hearing those headlines for the last few weeks and nothing has materialized so far,” said James Smith, developed markets economist at ING in London.

Britain and the European Union are heading into a “very significant” week, British foreign minister Dominic Raab said on Sunday, as talks over the trade deal enter their final days with serious differences yet to be resolved.

“The expectation in markets is that there will be a deal,” ING’s Smith said.

The exporter-laden FTSE 100 has rebounded 30% from a coronavirus-driven crash in March, but until this month, had lagged its U.S. and European peers on fears about the extent of the economic damage from pandemic-related lockdowns.

Data on Monday showed confidence among British businesses fell to a four-month low in November due to new restrictions, but firms turned less pessimistic after news of a breakthrough in developing a vaccine.

Further lifting sentiment, a study showed COVID-19 infections fell by 30% during England’s month-long national lockdown that began on Nov. 5.

Pets at Home Group Plc rose 1.4% after buying veterinary telehealth provider The Vet Connection for 15 million pounds ($20 million).

(Reporting by Shivani Kumaresan and Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)

Source: Reuters

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