London markets soared today during the first trading session of the new year as investors take an optimistic view on Omicron.
The capital’s premier FTSE 100 index shot up 1.63 per cent to close at 7,505.15 points during the first hour of trading, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 index, which is more aligned to the health of the UK economy, finished 1.77 per cent to 23,896.65 points.
A spate of upbeat news illustrating the Omicron variant of coronavirus is less deadly than previous strains has deterred the UK government from imposing tougher curbs on daily life in England to tamp down on infections.
As a result, fears over the UK economy being hit hard by the new strain have receded, lifting market sentiment in the process.
Traders in the City were also boosted by a strong showing yesterday on Wall Street and the Continent.
The S&P 500 closed at its highest ever level yesterday, as did several flagship indexes in Europe.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: “There is no sign of an extended New Year hangover for the UK markets. The FTSE 100 was instead in fine fettle on the first trading day of 2022, reaching new post-pandemic highs.”
Travel stocks led the FTSE 100 higher today, with British Airways owner IAG topping the table of risers by taking off 11.26 per cent.
Premier Inn owner Whitbread added 4.69 per cent and aerospace engineer Rolls Royce advanced over three per cent.
Meanwhile, on the FTSE 250, short haul airlines easyJet and Wizz Air were the best performers, roaring ahead over 9.20 per cent apiece.
The pound gained ground on the greenback, strengthening 0.43 per cent to buy $1.3529.