LONDON: London’s FTSE 100 slipped on Monday as a slide in crude oil prices weighed on energy stocks, while tighter restrictions on businesses raised concerns about the near-term economic impact.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 index fell 0.1%, while the domestically focussed mid-cap FTSE 250 index rose 0.3%.
Oil heavyweights BP and Royal Dutch Shell fell close to 2% each as crude prices slid.
Travel and leisure stocks, including British Airways-owner IAG, EasyJet and Intercontinental Hotels , shed between 0.8% and 3.2% as all travellers to Britain must have a recent negative COVID-19 test and be prepared to quarantine at home for 10 days on arrival.
Britain’s vaccine deployment minister, Nadhim Zahawi, raised concerns about vaccine supply, saying the rollout was limited by “lumpy” manufacturing and Pfizer’s changes to its production could lead to brief supply disruption.
“Investors will be looking to the speed of vaccine rollout, and the Biden inauguration and what he says about the relationship with UK,” said Keith Temperton, a sales trader at Forte Securities.
Meanwhile, foreign minister Dominic Raab said the government hopes to ease some lockdown restrictions in March as it presses ahead with Europe’s fastest rollout of COVID-19 vaccines.
The FTSE 100 fell 2% last week after a rally fuelled by Brexit optimism, as investors were worried that more stringent restrictions to curb coronavirus infections might derail prospects of a swift economic recovery from the pandemic-driven recession.
Among individual stocks, drugmaker AstraZeneca rose 0.5% after saying its breast cancer drug received approval as a treatment for a certain type of advanced gastric cancer in the United States.
Energy services company Centrica Plc lost 2.3% after it said its chief financial officer, Johnathan Ford, would step down on Jan. 31.