Markets boosted as travel firms fly high

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US markets seemed detached from the reality on the ground on Monday, as they helped drag their European cousins upwards.

The FTSE 100, which had been fairly stable up until the opening bell in New York, jumped as it saw the upbeat mood on the other side of the pond.

The index closed the day up 66.47 points, or 1.1%, to 6,225.77.

It has followed positive US traders, who sent the Dow Jones and the S&P 500 up 1.7% and 1.1% respectively, despite indications that the coronavirus pandemic is getting worse, not better, in the States.

Neither a new daily record of confirmed cases in Florida, that was set on Saturday, or a new lockdown of nearly half a million people outside Beijing were enough to put the Americans off.

“It is evident that the reopening of economies can bring about a surge in cases, but given the reaction by traders on both sides of the Atlantic, they don’t seem to care that much for now,” said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

The US markets were buoyed by the news that Boeing will be able to start test flying its 737 Max planes again this week.

The global fleet of the Max planes have been grounded for more than a year after two fatal crashes.

In the UK, British Airways owner IAG topped the FTSE 100, rising 4%, while easyJet added more than 5%, as the Government prepares to lift quarantine rules for travellers from some countries.

The Cac 40, which is Paris’s main index, ended the day up 0.7%, while the Dax of Frankfurt was 1.2% up.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil rose 0.7% to $41.29 per barrel.

The pound was 0.6% lower against the euro at 1.0927, and fell 0.5% when buying dollars, at 1.2276.

In a fairly quiet day for company news, BP dominated headlines after selling its petrochemicals arm to Ineos for £4 billion, a move that sent its shares up 3.4%, just enough to scrape into the top five winners on the FTSE 100.

Frankie & Benny’s owner The Restaurant Group confirmed it will shut 125 of its restaurants after creditors voted in favour of a restructuring deal. Its shares ended up 3.5%.

Lookers closed down by 0.7% after the troubled car dealership said it will book a £19 million hit due to a potential fraud in its accounts.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were IAG, up 8.8p to 230.6p, Standard Chartered, up 16.6p to 439.2p, Kingfisher, up 8.4p to 223.1p, Pearson, up 20.4p to 582.4p, and BP, up 10.3p to 314.9p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were GVC Holdings, down 20.8p to 742.8p, Flutter Entertainment, down 225p to 10,820p, Avast, down 9p to 522.5p, Unilever, down 76p to 4,443p, and Aveva, down 66p to 4,060p.

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