After the approval of AstraZeneca and the University of Oxford’s vaccine in the UK, London markets tumbled into negative territory as viral fears overshadowed initial optimism. And the passage in Parliament of the Brexit bill.
Shares slipped after the FTSE 100 stormed to a new nine-month high on Tuesday after the EU withdrawal agreement had been confirmed by the UK.
In the afternoon, morale slumped after the government revealed plans to put in more U.K. regions. Weighing on supermarket stocks under strict Tier 4 constraints.
At Wednesday’s end of trade, the FTSE 100 closed 46.83 points lower at 6,555.82.
“Despite the passage of the Brexit bill, which puts to rest concerns of a no-deal Brexit as the UK exits the EU on Thursday night, UK equities are on the back foot,” Joshua Mahony, IG senior market analyst, said, “U.K. equities are on the back foot.
It seems to be a case of a buy-the-rumor, sell-the-fact situation, sadly.
“Yesterday, with a staggering 53,000 new cases, the U.K. With no sign of a reversal, he remains on a sharp upward trajectory.
“The fear is that without a rapid reversal in case numbers, the government will either extend restrictions or tighten them further.”
Elsewhere in Europe, in the midst of the large gloom of sentiment, other big markets have also closed in the red.
The Dax of Germany was 0.31 percent lower and the Cac of France moved 0.22 percent lower.
In the U.S., on the back of forthcoming stimulus steps and optimism fuelled by the ongoing launch of coronavirus vaccinations, the three main indices rebounded, while the U.S. dollar fell to a two-year low.
In the U.S. greenback, meanwhile, sterling rose on weakness.
The pound rose 0.77 percent to 1.360 against the U.S. dollar and was 0.54 percent higher at 1.107 against the euro.
After adjustments to regional tariffs around the world, non-essential retailers such as Dunelm and Next lost value forced stores to close their doors to clients.
In corporate news, despite the U.K., AstraZeneca shares closed lower. Finally, regulators issued permission for the use of their vaccine.
The government said the green light for the vaccine was provided by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), making 530,000 doses available as of Monday. AstraZeneca’s shares finished 61 pence lower at 7,401 pence.
Flutter, owner of Paddy Power, saw its valuation rise to 95 percent after raising its interest in US fantasy sports company FanDuel, worth $4.2bn (£3.1bn). Shares have risen 25p to 15,300p.
After the company closed a new $165m (£121.2m) credit facility, shares of outsourcing solutions provider iEnergizer soared. The firm closed 33p higher at 303p and reported that “a further announcement on the return of cash to shareholders”
On Wednesday, oil prices were almost unchanged, rising just 0.04 percent to $51.19 per barrel of Brent crude.