London shares ended Monday moderately higher despite volatility earlier in the day due to a vaccine spat between the EU and UK, pressure on the travel sector and a currency crisis in Turkey.

The UK’s benchmark FTSE 100 index closed 0.26% higher to 6,726.10, while midcap FTSE 250 index also ended in positive territory with a 0.17% gain to 21,455.89.

Investors had started the day’s trading in a less optimistic mood as concerns grew about the stability of economic recovery as the EU’s threat to withhold vaccine exports to the UK added to the tetchy mood on the London market.

Throwing fuel on the fires of uncertainty was the Turkish lira falling out of bed after president Erdogan sacked his globally respected central bank chief and replaced him with a little-known professor of banking over the weekend.

TRAVEL STOCKS THE BIG FALLERS

Investors also continue to fret over warnings that international travel bans may be extended by several months, putting a hold on holidays.

The big fallers on the London market were led by British Airways-owner International Consolidated Airlines (IAG), which lost 5.2% to 195.95p, with jet engines supplier Rolls Royce (RR.) down 4.4% to 111.9p.

Budget airline EasyJet (EZJ) led the mid-cap FTSE 250 down after falling 5.4% to 941.2p with holidays operator TUI (TUI) also down after losing almost 5% to 378p. Rival tour operator Jet2 (JET2) fell even more sharply, dropping 7% to £12.90.

On the up was B&Q-owner Kingfisher (KGF), which advanced 3.6% to 324p as its sales surged thanks to click-and-collect. Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca (AZN) also held firm in the face of the storm around its vaccine and the jabs’ exports, adding 3.3% to £73.44.

Investors focused instead on a new study that showed the Astra/Oxford University developed drug was both safe and effective for older recipients.

ELSEWHERE ON THE MARKET

Gold miner Centamin (CEY) dipped 0.4% to 104.3p despite it reporting a jump in profit after lower output was more than offset by a surge in prices for the precious metal.

Drug development minnow Futura Medical (FUM:AIM) soared almost 47% to 67.6p after positive trial data from its erectile dysfunction treatment MED3000.

Luxury car retailer Cambria Automobiles (CAMB:AIM) rallied 15.15% to 76p on news that it was mulling a possible management buyout, at 80p per share.

Student accommodation provider Unite (UTG) dipped 0.8% to £10.12 after it received planning approval for a 700-bed development at Derby Road in Nottingham, estimated to cost £57 million to develop.

Video advertising group Tremor International (TRMR:AIM) rallied 15.5% to 700p on guiding for an annual profit for calendar 2021 ‘significantly ahead’ of previous expectations.

Ship owner Tufton Oceanic Assets (SHIP) rose 0.8% to $0.98 after having posted a large rise in first-half profit, underpinned by fixed-based charter revenue and higher containership valuations.

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Issue Date: 22 Mar 2021