London midday: FTSE hits 22-month high as Omicron fears recede
London stocks were still in the black by midday on Wednesday amid hopes that Omicron will be less severe than previous Covid variants, although volumes were thin as many traders remained away from their desks until after the new year.
The FTSE 100 was up 0.8% at 7,433.04, having hit a 22-month high.
Oanda market analyst Jeffrey Halley said: "Although omicron cases in the US and Europe amongst others, continue to surge, it has yet to make its presence felt negatively in economic data. Europe’s restrictions will have a tail impact but, for now, markets are overwhelmingly pricing in the latest variant as a milder incarnation, despite its easier contractibility.
"With market activity much reduced for the holiday season, investors continue to tentatively price in a global recovery hitting a minor bump, and not a pothole."
Unsurprisingly, corporate news was sparse.
AstraZeneca gained after saying that it and California-based Ionis Pharmaceutical had closed a global development and commercialisation agreement for eplontersen, a medicine used in the treatment of transthyretin amyloidosis.
Fresnillo was the worst performer on the FTSE 100 after it said mill commissioning at its Juanicipio joint venture in Mexico had been delayed by six months as the state electricity company said it could not give the go-ahead for connection to the national power grid due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Anglo American edged lower after it and Brazil’s Vale started preliminary talks on the potential to jointly develop Vale's Serpentina iron ore resource. The deposit neighbours Anglo American's integrated Minas-Rio iron ore operation in Brazil.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Spirax-Sarco Engineering (SPX) 16,315.00p 3.88%
Experian (EXPN) 3,676.00p 2.91%
Dechra Pharmaceuticals (DPH) 5,220.00p 2.86%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 2,250.00p 2.79%
Croda International (CRDA) 10,280.00p 2.70%
Electrocomponents (ECM) 1,236.00p 2.57%
SEGRO (SGRO) 1,427.00p 2.48%
Kingfisher (KGF) 350.90p 2.45%
Next (NXT) 8,132.00p 2.37%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,307.50p 2.23%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Fresnillo (FRES) 878.80p -1.59%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 144.82p -1.24%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 4,826.50p -0.82%
British American Tobacco (BATS) 2,737.00p -0.47%
Anglo American (AAL) 3,027.00p -0.44%
Royal Dutch Shell 'A' (RDSA) 1,639.20p -0.29%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,288.50p -0.27%
Evraz (EVR) 604.40p -0.23%
BP (BP.) 337.20p -0.19%
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 1,346.00p -0.19%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Trustpilot Group (TRST) 318.60p 6.20%
Auction Technology Group (ATG) 1,524.00p 5.25%
Darktrace (DARK) 431.20p 4.86%
Discoverie Group (DSCV) 1,016.00p 4.42%
Frasers Group (FRAS) 777.50p 4.29%
Computacenter (CCC) 2,928.00p 3.54%
Dr. Martens (DOCS) 428.20p 3.33%
Bodycote (BOY) 874.00p 3.19%
Kainos Group (KNOS) 1,922.00p 3.11%
NCC Group (NCC) 241.00p 2.99%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
Petropavlovsk (POG) 19.10p -4.98%
Carnival (CCL) 1,413.00p -3.38%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 239.60p -3.19%
Baltic Classifieds Group (BCG) 234.00p -2.90%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 129.30p -2.78%
888 Holdings (888) 297.80p -2.36%
Harbour Energy (HBR) 357.60p -1.92%
Baillie Gifford US Growth Trust (USA) 313.00p -1.88%
Hipgnosis Songs Fund Limited NPV (SONG) 125.60p -1.41%
VinaCapital Vietnam Opportunity Fund Ltd. (VOF) 515.00p -1.34%