FTSE 100 soars to near three-month high on vaccine optimism

(Reuters) - London’s FTSE 100 jumped to a near three-month high on Monday as signs of progress in developing a COVID-19 vaccine bolstered hopes of a swift economic recovery, with investors also cheering Democrat Joe Biden’s U.S. election victory.

FILE PHOTO: The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index .FTSE closed up 4.7%, logging its best day since March 24, while the domestically focused mid-cap FTSE 250 soared 5.2% to a more than eight-month high.

Travel .FTNMX5750 and oil .FTNMX0530 stocks surged 12.3% and 13.2%, respectively, after U.S. drugmaker Pfizer PFE.N and German partner BioNTech BNTX.O said their experimental COVID-19 vaccine was more than 90% effective based on initial trial results.

“Today’s news is basically just 100% good news and there’s not much room for subjectivity or debate, or all glass half empty kind of analysis,” said Stefan Koopman, senior market economist at Rabobank.

“The markets are betting that life will return to normal sooner rather than later as there are new pathways out of this crisis, and the market is exuberant to hear this.”

UK markets started November on a stronger footing as the British government and the Bank of England ramped up stimulus measures to support an economy facing a second nationwide coronavirus-induced lockdown.

Brexit news was also in focus, with the European Union saying it was redoubling its efforts to reach a trade deal with Britain this week.

Banks .FTNMX8350, which are considered a barometer for economic growth, added 12.2%.

Homebuilder Taylor Wimpey Plc TW.L surged 18.6% after it forecast annual results above market expectations, while real estate agent Countrywide Plc CWD.L advanced 41.4% following an early-stage buyout approach from property firm Connells Ltd.

Shares of aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce RR.L ended nearly 44% higher, having earlier gained as much as 97%, while stay-at-home winners such as Reckitt Benckiser RB.L, Just Eat JETJ.L and Ocado Group Plc OCDO.L tumbled between 5.8% and 11.5%.

Reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich, Aditya Soni