British stocks jump 1.5pc on first trading day outside EU

People walk through the lobby of the London Stock Exchange in London December 3, 2015. ― Reuters pic

LONDON, Jan 4 — The London stock market jumped more than 1.5 per cent today in a strong start to 2021 on the first trading day since Britain formally left the EU’s single market and customs union.

The benchmark FTSE 100 index rallied 1.54 per cent to 6,560.33 points at the open, having last traded on New Year’s Eve when it had lost 1.5 per cent.

In the eurozone today, Frankfurt’s DAX 30 rose 1.2 per cent to 13,885.07 points and the Paris CAC 40 gained 1.3 per cent to 5,625.44.

The UK formally left the European Union on January 31, 2020 but remained in a standstill transition period up to December 31 as both sides negotiated a post-Brexit trade deal which was sealed only at the last moment on December 24.

Britain formally left the European customs union and single market at 2300 GMT on December 31.

“The finer implications of the UK’s exit remain to be seen but the fact that a deal was agreed prior to the deadline removes some of the overhang which had been haunting the index for some time,” said Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor.

Asian equities also began 2021 in strong fashion on burgeoning optimism about the economic outlook, despite ongoing fears over the coronavirus health crisis.

Investors are hopeful that the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines will offset a surge in infection rates.

With uncertainty over Brexit and a new US stimulus package gone, sights are set on economic recovery from the calamity that was 2020, with a broad expectation that countries will enjoy strong rebounds as life gets back to some semblance of normal. — AFP



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