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FTSE 100 falls as traders focus on European Covid concerns

European Covid

The FTSE -100 was being called down 20 points by IG Index traders with similar falls registered on CMC Markets

The FTSE 100 Index was set to fall today as investors in Europe feared further Covid lockdowns that would hold back economies and company profits in the region.

As Portugal became the world’s most infected country per capita with the virus, investors are waking up to the horrific implications of the new Kent variant, having seen it trigger huge case surges in the UK and then Ireland.

Scenes of rioting in Holland over lockdowns have given further fuel to the bears on European equities, leading shares across the UK and the EU set for a muted start to trading.

The FTSE -100 was being called down 20 points at 6640 by IG Index traders with similar falls registered on CMC Markets. The latter were calling the Dax in Germany down 11 at 13860 and France’s CAC-40 up 5 at 5528.

Such small moves could always veer into positive or negative territory by the time trading starts but were clear indications of investor caution. Yesterday saw markets gain after three straight declines.

Wall Street had a fairly flat session – meaning it remained near record highs. After the market closed, Microsoft issued blockbuster profit figures, smashing expectations on Wall Street as its Intelligent Cloud AI technologies and its web hosting software Azure saw a big rise in revenues from businesses.

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson said that “raises the bar” for Apple and Facebook’s earnings later today.

Asia was lifted by Microsoft’s mood this morning but Europe’s Covid troubles seem likely to outweigh that.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca chief executive Pascal Soriot last night addressed convincingly some EU policymakers’ more absurd complaints about rollout of the Oxford vaccine last night.

Soriot slapped down talk that Astra was profiteering by denying the EU of its due vaccines, reminding the world that it is operating on a not-for-profit basis. He said delays in the production of the vaccine for the EU were simply because the bloc had been three months later than the UK in ordering it. In that time, it had ironed out potential hiccups to the supply chain in the UK, he insisted.

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