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Stocks hit yet another record, Wetherspoon on the move, AstraZeneca pulls covid vaccine

Published 08/05/2024, 10:26
© Reuters FTSE 100 Live: Stocks hit yet another record, Wetherspoon on the move, AstraZeneca pulls covid vaccine
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Proactive Investors -

  • Blue chips up 28 points to 8,342
  • JD Wetherspoon (LON:JDW) sales up
  • AstraZeneca (NASDAQ:AZN) withdraws covid vaccine worldwide

AstraZeneca jumps on covid vaccine withdrawal

London's blue-chip index is holding higher on Wednesday, continuing the rally which has seen the FTSE 100 smash its records multiple times.

Helping push it higher today was AstraZeneca, the index's largest constituent, which surged 1.6% after it said it would be withdrawing its COVID vaccine from global markets.

AZ said the decision was because there is a "surplus of available updated vaccines", despite having admitted months ago that its version can cause a rare and dangerous side effect.

Other risers included British Airways (LON:ICAG) owner IAG, Informa and Melrose.

Meanwhile, Antofagasta (LON:ANTO) and BP (LON:BP) were the only two stocks to fall by more than 2%, the latter of which still feeling the bite from reporting a shrinking of profits during its most recent quarter.

Sweden joins in on cutting interest rates

Sweden has joined the likes of Switzerland and the Czech Republic in cutting interest rates, dropping to 3.75% from 4%.

Riksbank, the country's central bank, slashed its policy rate for the first time in eight years after inflation began to slow to its target.

Markets had expected the cut and were told by the central bank to prepare for an additional two more in the second half of 2024.

Switzerland became the first major economy to cut its interest rates back in March, dropping from 1.7% to 1.5% before Czech and Hungarian central banks followed suit.

Europe's central bank is likely to join in cutting rates in June should inflationary pressures continue to subside, while economists are predicting an August rate cut for the UK.

Hundreds of defence companies debanked by high street lenders

High street lenders have begun debanking hundreds of defence companies as they become more strict on their internal ethics policies, sparking fears that the UK's national security may be at risk.

Santander (BME:SAN) and Lloyds (LON:LLOY) closed the accounts of around 300 "public administration and defence" companies throughout last year, reports from the Telegraph revealed on Wednesday.

Other leading lenders failed to provide a breakdown of their debanking statistics, indicating the figure may be higher.

While some of the accounts were removed for prolonged inactivity, others were cut due to the ethical concerns surrounding working with a weapons company.

The findings have been met with backlash from both MPs and members of the defence industry.

Treasury Committee chairman Harriett Baldwin said: “We cannot have organisations in this country systematically debanking legitimate firms or industries because their board turns its nose up at their line of work. If their work is legal then they should be able to access a bank account.”

Read more on Proactive Investors UK

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