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UK’s FTSE hits pre-pandemic levels, Asian markets mixed


The blue-chip index FTSE 100 finished 13 points or 0.2 per cent higher, Hang Seng dropped 0.7 per cent, MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan were 2 per cent higher

UK’s FTSE 100 hit pre-pandemic levels of February 2020 in Monday’s trading session despite concerns over the extension of lockdown measures. The government later announced the extension of lockdown restrictions.

The index was led higher by oil companies which tracked the rise in crude prices.

The blue-chip index finished 13 points or 0.2 per cent higher, after hitting intraday levels of 7,188, while the FTSE 250 rose marginally, gaining 10 points.

The Boris Johnson government announced a four-week extension on hopes that more people will be vaccinated in a month’s time, preventing another wave. The move may hit the hospitality industry in the short term, but investor sentiments remained high despite expectations of delay yesterday.

In the US, stocks were mixed at close but the S&P 500 hit a fresh record high amid gains in big tech companies. The benchmark index was lower for most of the day, but rose in the last 10 minutes of trading, ending up by 0.2 per cent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) declined 0.2 per cent and the Nasdaq composite added 0.7 per cent.

Shares in Asia-Pacific opened mixed on Tuesday, following the US peers, except Australian stocks that gained nearly 1 per cent throughout the session. The Nikkei 225 in Japan also gained around a per cent. South Korea’s Kospi dipped in the mid trade, but recovered to gain nearly 0.1 per cent.

In China, mainland stocks dropped, as the Shanghai composite dropped by nearly one per cent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng dropped 0.7 per cent. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan were 2 per cent higher.

Indian indices opened higher and were trading at record high levels on Tuesday boosted by gains in banks, financials, IT, metal, and FMCG stocks despite cautious trading in global markets ahead of a Federal Reserve policy meeting.

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