FTSE 100 steady despite concerns over Conservative MPs’ demands for end to lockdowns – Evening Standard

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T

he FTSE 100 was set for a flat start to trading today as investors took a more cautious stance on the course of the Covid-19 vaccine story.

While UK rollout of the various jabs appeared to be proceeding well, some traders were concerned at news that rightwing Conservative MPs were now pressuring the Prime Minister to set a date for relieving the current lockdown restrictions.

Despite new cases now running at 50,000 a day, the Covid Recovery Group of MPs who have challenged the current restrictions are urging a March 8 target to ease the current restrictions, even though only around 15 million would have been vaccinated by then. 

They argue that the most vulnerable will have been treated.

Some scientists fear that, with the virus still so prevalent at those levels, the threat of further mutations that might not be covered by the vaccine remained elevated.

France and other EU nations were mulling tighter restrictions to counter the threat of the Kent virus mutation amid concerns the lack of genetic sequencing, particularly in France, meant it could already be rampant there despite experts not being aware of it.

China disappointingly reported its highest daily rise in Covid cases in five months yesterday, hitting financial markets on a day of widespread sell-offs following the previous week’s stunning gains.

Big tech companies’ shares fell in the US amid growing speculation of a clampdown on their unfettered behaviour in fuelling the violence of Donald Trump’s supporters although Asian stocks mostly gained today.

That could put some upwards pressure on the FTSE 100 on the opening but IG Index traders were calling the market flat at 6804. CMC Markets was quoting the index up 6.

Commodities had a tough session yesterday, with oil down, damaging the energy-heavy FTSE 100 and much will depend today on crude’s moves after its pull back from Friday’s 11 month high.

Bitcoin fell sharply from nearly $42,000 on Friday to $30,300. As ever, analysts are still struggling to figure out why.

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