FTSE 100 rounds off November supernova in style as investors pile into UK

Graeme Evans
·2-min read
Oil prices  near $50 on wave of global optimism (PR HANDOUT)
Oil prices near $50 on wave of global optimism (PR HANDOUT)

The best month for the FTSE 100 index in at least three decades was rounded off in style today as investors continued their buying spree of undervalued UK assets.

The confidence boost offered by vaccine breakthroughs and the decisive US election result means the London's top flight index has risen by 14.5% in November, which is in line with the best month on record seen in January 1989.

The FTSE 100 index finished the month with another flourish by rising 18.04 points to 6385.62, although it is still some 16% lower in the year-to-date after the Covid-19 pandemic sent markets into a tailspin from March onwards.

Analysts at UBS think the FTSE 100 has the potential to end 2021 at 7,200, but much will depend on whether a Brexit deal convinces international investors back to UK stocks.

The return of Brent crude prices towards 50 US dollars a barrel has helped sentiment in recent weeks, although with the OPEC producer group meeting today there was a pause in the recent progress. BP and Royal Dutch Shell shares were both down 2% — 6.05p to 256.85p and 19.6p to 1,284p — after Brent crude fell 1%.

There was also a decline of 2.65p to 118.65p for BT Group after the government surprisingly accelerated the timeline for kicking Huawei out of the UK telecoms infrastructure to next September. It means an expected £2 billion bill for telcos will probably be even higher.

Blue-chip stocks on the front foot included AstraZeneca, which put back 130p to 7,900p after falling 7% last week amid scrutiny of its Oxford vaccine trial results.

The FTSE 250 index, which has benefited from a rotation into value stocks such as Cineworld and Upper Crust owner SSP, rose 88.56 points to 19,551.27 at the end of its best month since 2009. Homewares retailer Dunelm was today's biggest riser after adding 80p to 1,264p.

Low-cost airline easyJet moved in the opposite direction, declining 32.2p to 806.6p amid newspaper speculation it might tap shareholders for more funds.