London’s FTSE 100 was set to record a weekly gain of 1% on Friday, after falling for three consecutive weeks, as corporate earnings improved and faster vaccine rollouts supported optimism around a quicker pace of economic revival.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index rose 0.1% on Friday with banks and travel stocks being the top gainers. The mid-cap index rose 0.6%.
“The vaccine rollout is still going very well so that is probably an underlying positive for UK markets at the moment,” said Connor Campbell, a financial analyst at SpreadEx.
“However, signs of any delay or slowdown in the pace of the vaccine rollouts will be a huge obstacle in the coming weeks or months.”
Progress in vaccine distributions and expectations of a large stimulus by U.S. President Joe Biden’s administration helped global markets trade near their record highs and kept the FTSE 100 index on pace to post gains of 1.06% this week.
The blue-chip index, which mostly has export-oriented and commodity stocks, has rebounded from early-2021 losses to trade up 0.8% this year.
Bank stocks rose nearly 1% on Friday after the Bank of England gave lenders at least six months’ breathing space on Thursday before negative interest rates are a possibility, focusing instead on the prospects of a post-lockdown rebound.
The top gainer on the mid-cap index was Insurer Beazley , up 12.5%, after the company said it was confident of returning to profitability in 2021.
Shares of French Connection gained 66.1% after the British fashion retailer said was is in takeover talks with two possible suitors.
Reporting by Shashank Nayar and Amal S in Bengaluru; Editing by Amy Caren Daniel