Weekly loss for UK shares on Brexit fears and Covid vaccine concerns

27 Nov 2020

London stocks fell on Friday, set for their first weekly loss in November, on post-Brexit trade deal concerns and doubts surrounding the effectiveness of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Reuters reports the blue-chip FTSE 100 index declined 0.7%, whilst the mid-cap FTSE 250 fell 0.9%. Some of the biggest drags were industrial, consumer staples and real-estate stocks. 

According to a Bloomberg report, AstraZeneca will likely carry out another global trial to determine the efficacy of its COVID-19 vaccine using a lower dosage, following questions regarding the results of the late-stage study.

The drug manufacturer’s shares declined 0.1%.

Han Tan, market analyst at FXTM commented: “The positive developments surrounding the three leading vaccine candidates formed a metaphorical three-legged stool on which risk appetite rested. But signs that one of those legs could be coming loose, triggered a wobble in risk assets.

“The market reaction of late underscores how sensitive investor sentiment is to news surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine.”

Over the last three weeks, UK shares rallied from their October decline on positive vaccine news. Nevertheless, worries over the impact on economic growth from rising coronavirus numbers and the Brexit trade deal impasse have driven both indexes to the first weekly loss in four.

According to the European Union’s chief negotiator, Michel Barnier, differences in regard to state aid, fisheries and future dispute resolution are still prevalent within Brexit talks, as he was due to travel to London on Friday in a final attempt to reach a trade deal.

In addition, shares in Reach Plc, the publisher of the Daily Mirror, increased 4.3% after the firm announced its 2020 performance surpassed market expectations, buoyed by robust digital growth.

Marks and Spencer declined 2% as Goldman Sachs downgraded the firm’s shares to “neutral”.

Moreover, shares in pub operator J D Wetherspoon dropped 2.5% on news that its 366 establishments will remain shuttered.