The FTSE 100 fell back slightly this morning as reports that the government is mulling further restrictions pressed on the markets.
London’s premier index fell 0.5 per cent by mid morning to stand at 6,838 points after a rapid start to the year last week.
In the first week of trading, the bourse picked up 6.4 per cent as traders piled into equities despite the current lockdown.
The rapid start to the year meant that the FTSE 100 closed the ground on rival markets around the world, having shed 15 per cent in 2020.
Medical suppliers Smith & Nephew, grocer Sainsbury’s, and miner Fresnillo were the biggest fallers in early trading.
Leading the charge was JD Sports, which said profit would come in ahead of previous guidance after a “robust” sales performance.
Shares in the retailer have picked up 4.6 per cent so far today.
The FTSE 250 of mid-cap companies rose slightly to 21,068.09 as markets opened.
Signature Aviation led the way, with shares rising eight per cent after it agreed at $4.6bn takeover deal with Global Infrastructure Partners.
Asian markets halted just off record highs today as investors awaited “trillions” in new US stimulus measures, which are due to be unveiled this week.
Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said: “Without the artificial buzz of the New Year, or a seismic event like a pair of Senate races, the markets were forced to contend with the day-to-day realities of trading in 2021.
For the FTSE, that means the prospect of even tighter restrictions in the UK, as experts believe the current level of lockdown isn’t having the desired effect.
“Practically, any further measures the government could implement should have minimal impact on the blue chip index’s individual components. Symbolically, however, the shift towards harsher constraints may undermine the FTSE’s recent growth.”