The FTSE 100 kicked off 2022 with strong gains on Tuesday as optimism grew around the impact of Omicron and US tech shares boosted sentiment.
The FTSE 100 was 1.27% higher at 7,478 in early trade on Tuesday.
“There is no sign of an extended New Year hangover for the UK markets. The FTSE 100 was instead in fine fettle on the first trading day of 2022, reaching new post-pandemic highs,” said AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould.
“Sentiment was helped by a strong showing on Wall Street yesterday, with Apple reaching the remarkable milestone of a $3 trillion valuation before any of its tech giant peers. Tesla also enjoyed a super-charged response to impressive fourth quarter sales report. So much for the technology sector being out of favour.
“The best performing stocks in London were in the travel, leisure and energy sectors. Rolls-Royce, also taking off thanks to its heavy footprint in aircraft engines and spares and repairs, announced some corporate housekeeping with the completion of the sale of its Bergen Engines business.”
IAG was the FTSE 100’s top riser, gaining 9.7% at the time of writing, as investors picked up shares on hopes Omicron would not be as damaging to the industry as first thought. IAG was one of the FTSE 100’s worst performing stocks of 2021 and although their were standout gains for the airline in the first session of 2021, the stock remained well below 52-week highs.
“With yet more indications that Omicron, though highly infectious, does not cause such serious illness, a wave of relief is pushing up companies which have been hit by worries about tighter restrictions,” said Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
Further evidence of optimism around the longer term impact of Omicron came from weakness in shares considered to be ‘COVID’ stocks or ones with defensive characteristics.
Ocado was off by 4% whilst Fresnillo gave up 4%.