Thursday, June 17, 2021
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FTSE 100 set to rise in recovery from European AstraZeneca Covid vaccine blow

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After making a positive start to trading yesterday, European markets ended flat or down after several countries put their AZ vaccines on hold over fears it could cause blood clots.

The European Medicines Agency last week said 30 people out of the five million people who had received the vaccine had developed blood clots and said that was no higher than the rest of the population, but Germany, France, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and Portugal pressed on with the suspension anyway.

Many experts fear the move will lead to an increased spread of the virus through those countries and additional deaths and lockdowns.

The FTSE 100 ended what had been a strong session down nearly 12 points but was expected today to claw that back with a gain of around 28.7 at 6776, according to traders on the IG platform.

Around 64% of traders were “long” of that figure, meaning they were betting it would go higher.

Bulls were noting that the AZ vaccine pause in most cases could be just a matter of a few days, and that the programme is likely to pick up again soon.

Bears were fretting that, on top of numerous misinformation about the vaccine put out by EU politicians before, their actions this week would make it harder to convince their public to have the jab.

European leaders’ decisions to halt their programmes came despite the World Health Organisation and the EMA saying the jab was safe, and there being no signs of increased risk of blood clots in the UK, where it has been given to the most people.

The EU problems were shrugged off by US markets last night which saw yet more record highs posted on the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500 and Russell 2000 indexes. They all hit new records for the third day in a row.

CMC Markets pointed to big gains in airlines after data showed US air travel hit its highest levels for a year. Reports of cinemas reopening in Los Angeles boosted the mood along with hopes that part of the $1400 Joe Biden stimulus cheques to Americans would be invested in the stock market also boosting sentiment.

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