Europe stock markets sluggish as UK set for reopening

by Jonathan Adams
FTSE

The FTSE 100 ended 0.08% lower, the CAC and the DAX in Germany both ended flat

European stock markets were sluggish on Monday as the UK received confirmation that it is set to move into the next stage of Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown on 17 May.

In London, the FTSE 100 was flat for most of the session, held back by a stronger pound, before slipping into the red in the afternoon. It ended 0.08% lower.

The French CAC and the DAX in Germany both ended flat after a muted session.

Over the weekend UK PM Boris Johnson said that England’s next stage of lockdown easing will go ahead as planned as the rate of COVID-19 infections in the country reaches its lowest level since September.

Brits will be allowed to dine and mix indoors in pubs and restaurants and cinemas, with limited international travel resuming also.

The data reflects what we already knew; we are not going to let this virus beat us, Johnson said in a statement.

The road map remains on track, our successful vaccination program continues — more than two-thirds of adults in the UK have now had the first vaccine — and we can now look forward to unlocking cautiously but irreversibly, he said.

Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, said: Markets seem set fair as the reopening trade continues to reflect improving optimism on post-pandemic prospects.

On Monday, mining companies also helped to lift London’s benchmark index thanks to the boom in commodity prices such as copper, iron ore, nickel, zinc, and palladium.

There could be a lot of speculative buying and trading pushing commodities higher but for now there does still seem to be a lot of momentum behind the trade and reasons to think fundamentals will continue to support, said Neil Wilson, chief markets analyst at Markets.com.

Meanwhile, airline and travel companies suffered slightly as the UK government’s “green list” of travel destinations failed to cheer up investors.

The list consisted of Portugal, Gibraltar, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei, Iceland and the Faroe Islands, plus several small remote islands that are British Overseas Territories.

Travellers returning from any of these countries will not need to quarantine, and will only be required to take one post-arrival test.



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