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FTSE 100 and Dow Jones jump on second Covid vaccine hopes

·2 min read

Global share prices have surged following news of a second breakthrough coronavirus vaccine, following last week's positive results from Pfizer.

Interim data from the US firm Moderna suggests its vaccine is highly effective in preventing people getting ill and works across all age groups.

The news pushed Moderna shares more than 9% higher and the Dow to a record.

It also lifted firms hit by the virus, with British Airways owner IAG rising 10% and Cineworld up 13.5%.

In the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average hit a new high, after jumping about 1.6%. The wider S&P 500 increased almost 1.2% from Friday's record and the Nasdaq gained 0.8%.

Earlier, the UK's FTSE 100 share index closed about 1.6% higher, while the main market in Paris rose 1.7% and in Germany shares gained 0.5%.

Winners

Last week, stock markets enjoyed one of their best ever days when a vaccine by Pfizer/BioNTech raised hopes that the business world might return to normal next year. A number of other vaccines are also being developed.

The gains spurred by Moderna's news on Monday were more muted but still helped the MSCI World Index of global shares to rise further, climbing to a new record high.

Firms that have been hit most badly in the pandemic have seen the biggest rises. In the travel sector, cruise line Carnival jumped more than 10%, while Intercontinental Hotels closed almost 5% higher.

The prospect of an end to lockdowns also helped oil prices strengthen. Brent and West Texas Intermediate crude prices were up about 3%, and shares in energy companies also gained.

The price of gold - which is often seen as a safer asset in times of uncertainty - slipped 0.7% before recovering.

Terry Sandven, chief equity strategist at US Bank Wealth Management, said markets are being driven by a "tug-of-war between optimism over COVID-19 vaccine progress versus fear of economic slowing as COVID-19 cases continue to rise".

But he said low interest rates, stimulus and medical progress give him a "glass half-full" outlook.

"We expect equity prices to inch higher into year-end and 2021, with increased volatility being more the norm than exception," he said,

Until vaccines can be rolled out, rising cases of the coronavirus were a risk, said Morgan Stanley strategists in a research note to investors.

But the investment bank urged shareholders to "keep the faith... We think this global recovery is sustainable, synchronous and supported by policy".