Wednesday, December 8

London’s FTSE 100 recovers from Trump’s COVID-19 shock

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London’s FTSE 100 ended higher on Friday as markets recovered from the initial shock of US President Donald Trump testing COVID-19 positive, although Brexit concerns and a 22% plunge in miner Centamin capped gains for the more domestically-focussed index.

Trump said on Friday he and his wife Melania were going into quarantine, raising concerns about the impact on his presidential campaign less than five weeks before the election.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index closed up 0.4% after losing as much as 1.2%, taking weekly gains to 1% after two weeks of losses.

“We are seeing a more level-headed approach given that President (Trump) may only suffer a mild form of the virus,” said Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at IG.

“While the White House has insisted that Trump is capable and working in isolation, the progression of his condition will likely provide another key element for traders to track over the coming week.”

Oil stocks tracked crude prices lower, while gains were led by financials and commodity-linked stocks.

“We expect risk assets and cyclical assets to continue to fluctuate in sync with the public health situation, vaccine-related news… in the months to come,” said Nannette Hechler-Fayd’herbe, chief investment officer at Credit Suisse in London. The blue-chip index currently trades higher than its March lows, but with British scientists warning it was still likely that a resurgence in COVID-19 cases was spreading exponentially, and a UK trade deal with the European Unions still uncertain, the outlook for further gains appears bleak.

The mid-cap FTSE 250 lost 0.1%, with gold miner Centamin Plc tumbling after it forecast a fall in annual production.

The British Chamber of Commerce said on Friday many more British companies reported a fall in sales over the past three months than the ones who experienced an upswing, despite the lifting of most coronavirus restrictions. (Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh. V)