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UPDATE 2-British midcaps jump on vaccine hopes, fresh stimulus

Thu, 22nd Oct 2020 09:56

(For a Reuters live blog on U.S., UK and European stock
markets, click LIVE/ or type LIVE/ in a news window)

* Sunak unveils more job support for businesses, workers

* AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine follows genetic

* Unilever rises on stronger quarterly sales

* FTSE 100 up 0.1%, FTSE 250 adds 0.9%
(Adds details on stimulus, analyst comments; updates share

By Devik Jain and Joice Alves

Oct 22 (Reuters) - British mid-caps jumped on Thursday,
erasing earlier losses after a positive update on AstraZeneca's
COVID-19 vaccine candidate and as finance minister Rishi Sunak
unveiled more support for businesses hit by the pandemic.

The domestically-focussed mid-cap FTSE 250 rose 0.9%
to recoup declines from earlier in the week, with pubs and
restaurant operators Marston's Plc, J D Wetherspoon Plc
and Mitchells & Butlers Plc jumping between 1.3%
and 7%.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index also added 0.1% after a
study found AstraZeneca Plc's Oxford COVID-19 vaccine
accurately followed the genetic instructions programmed into it
to successfully provoke a strong immune response.

"Vaccine news tends to be one of the big market movers so it
looks like that, probably combined with Sunak's announcement,
(is why) we have seen the market shift into the green," said
Connor Campbell, market analyst at Spreadex.

Fears about new coronavirus-led restrictions as well as
Brexit-related uncertainty have weighed on UK stock markets
recently, with the FTSE 100 still on course for its second
straight week of declines.

The new measures announced by Sunak included easing the
eligibility for his jobs support scheme and new cash grants for
affected businesses.

In company news, Unilever Plc rose 0.6% after it
reported a stronger-than-expected return to sales growth in the
third quarter, led by emerging markets where it generates the
bulk of its revenue.

Rentokil Initial Plc gained 4.8% as the pest control
firm posted a 9.8% rise in third-quarter revenue due to higher
demand for its disinfection services.

Britain is set to resume talks on a post-Brexit trade deal
with the European Union on Thursday, marking a new push by the
two sides to protect billions of dollars worth of trade from the
beginning of next year.
(Reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru and Joice Alves in
London, editing by Uttaresh.V and Andrew Heavens)

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