Market report

FTSE 100 up on Omicron hopes, travel stocks rise


5pm: London rises strongly

The FTSE 100 finished strongly, up 109.96 points (1.54%) at the close at 7,232.28, as it was driven

Joshua Mahoney, a senior market analyst at IG, said: “A weekend report on Omicron cases in Gauteng brings hope that we will be able to avoid a major global lockdown.”

British Airways owner IAG was the index’s best performer with a 8.08% rise to 142.34p, signalling a growing belief that further travel restrictions will not be needed.

Heading the other way was delivery firm Ocado, down 2.74% at 1582p while Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust was off its lows for the day, shedding 0.8%% at 1385p.

Stocks in New York were following European counterparts higher at the London equities’ close. The DJIA was up 1.8%, the S&P 500 index up 1% and the Nasdaq Composite up 0.2%.

8.15am: Market rises

The FTSE 100 rose at the open as forecast (see below) and was trading at 7,171.83, up 49.51 points.

7am: Ted Baker chairman dies

Ted Baker gift

John Barton, Scots-born chairman of fashion chain Ted Baker, has died suddenly, the company has reported.

Mr Barton, who was 77, was educated at Gordonstoun School and gained an MBA from the University of Strathclyde.

Full story here

7am: AG Barr diversifies into healthy foods

Irn-Bru maker AG Barr is branching out into healthy foods and has acquired a stake in a porridge and plant-based milk business.

The Cumbernauld-based company, whose portfolio includes a range of soft drinks, has taken an initial 60% equity stake in MOMA Foods, with an agreed path to full ownership over the next three years.

Full story here

Global markets

Reports that the Omicron variant of Covid-19 may be less of a threat to life than first feared was expected to give stock markets a lift at the start of a new week.

Although UK cases have risen, South Africa’s health minister, Joe Phaahla, said the majority of patients in his country have had only “mild” symptoms. The US said early indications suggest the mutation may be less dangerous than delta.

The reports are likely to see Wall Street reverse last week’s losses which followed disappointing jobs data.

Asia’s main markets were mixed with the potential collapse of China’s property company Evergrande.

Shares in the group slid 11% after the company said there was no guarantee it would have enough funds to meet debt repayments.

Chinese blue chips managed a 0.6% gain after state media quoted Premier Li Keqiang as saying Beijing will cut banks’ reserve requirement ratios “in a timely way”.

Japan’s Nikkei eased 0.5%, even as the government considered raising its economic growth forecast to account for a record $490 billion stimulus package.

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