FTSE 100 receives shot in the arm from coronavirus treatment optimism

Britain’s blue-chip benchmark finished almost 249 points higher, or 4.3% at 6,048

  • FTSE 100 index closes firmly higher
  • US benchmarks also surge
  • e-Therapeutics surges on back of coronavirus treatment news

5.10pm: FTSE in strong finish

FTSE 100 joined global indices to surge ahead on Monday as traders fears over the threat of the pandemic subsided.

Britain’s blue-chip benchmark finished almost 249 points higher, or 4.3% at 6,048.

Midcap FTSE 250  was also up, closing over 569 points up, at 16,230.

“Governments have been easing up on their lockdown restrictions, and dealers are hopeful those tactics will continue. In addition to that, the reopening of businesses should help stop the rot in terms of the horrendous economic reports that have been witnessed recently. Traders are taking the view we are over the worst of the crisis, hence why the buying momentum is so strong,” said David Madden, at CMC Markets.

Over on Wall Street, US benchmarks also headed north. The Dow Jones surged over 841 points at 24,526, while the S&P 500 gained over 87 points at 2,951.The Nasdaq raced up over 218 points at 9,233.

It comes after optimistic commentary from Fed chairman Jerome Mr Powell who has said he believes in a US economy recovery in the latter half of this year, but cautioned that a without a vaccine, a full recovery would be difficult to achieve.

3.50pm: Bumper day for blue-chips

Having risen above 6,000 – a level above which is has not closed this month – the Footsie could not sustain it and fell back a little.

Still, equity bulls are not going to carp about a 196 point (3.4%) gain to 5,996.

On a day when resource stocks garnered most of the spotlight, their thunder was stolen by pan-Asian investment company Adamas Finance Asia Limited, which was the top riser at 27.5p, up 41%.

The company revealed that it had increased its net asset value (NAV) by 8% year-on-year in 2019 to US$100.9mln. The NAV per share at the end of 2019 was 85 cents, equivalent to 72p.

In the pharma sector, e-Therapeutics PLC (LON:ETX) shares rose 17% to 17.88p after it began experimental testing on the first set of compounds for the treatment of coronavirus (COVID-19).

It had its thunder slightly stolen by US pharma company Moderna, which revealed its experimental covid-19 vaccine mRNA-1273 had shown promise in early trials.

READ Moderna announces positive interim data on Covid-19 vaccine candidate


3.00pm: FTSE 100 breaks through the 6,000 barrier

The Footsie has blasted its way back above 6,000, encouraged by a strong opening in the US.

The FTSE 100 was up 201 points (3.5%) at 6,000. Even the FTSE 250 – less affected by overseas sentiment – was joining the party, up 468 points (3.0%) at 16,129.

In the US, the Dow Jones average was up 711 points (3.0%) at 24,397 and the S&P 500 was up 70 points (2.5%) at 2,934.

Among the mid-caps, pubs group Mitchells & Butlers PLC (LON:MAB) was up 7.2% after it said a temporary waiver on its banking covenants…

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