Good morning. The FTSE 100 is set to open marginally higher as the vaccine rally runs out of steam.
Despite the positive news from Pfizer on Monday, Europe is still struggling to cope with the second wave of the virus. France and Italy both recorded their highest daily Covid death tolls since April yesterday, while ICU capacity in Paris is close to becoming exhausted.
5 things to start your day
1) What the vaccine means for the global economy: Forecasters have learnt global economic prospects hinge on a lasting solution to the pandemic, after months of lockdowns and more.
2) Waitrose doubles down on fresh food counters: As some supermarket chains call time on fresh food counters, Waitrose is vowing to keep its own open and launch virtual versions next year.
3) Luxury brands tell Sunak to rethink end of VAT-free shopping: From Gucci to Hugo Boss, brands have warned Sunak a proposed ban on tax-free shopping would cost billions and trigger a brutal tourism slump.
4) Plunge in foreign-born workers as Covid destroys jobs: Foreign-born workers in the UK fell by almost 600,000 in the past year as Covid laid waste to the jobs market and sparked an exodus.
5) Billionaire bidding for National Lottery gets €500m from Apollo: One of the world’s biggest buyout funds is backing Czech billionaire Karel Komárek’s bid for the National Lottery from current operator.
What happened overnight
Asian markets rose again on Wednesday as investors continued to ride the positive sentiment from news of a highly successful vaccine trial and Joe Biden’s US election victory.
Equities were already in the ascendant at the end of last week as it appeared the former vice president was looking on course to wrest control of the White House from Donald Trump and provide more certainty to world affairs.
But US pharma giant Pfizer and Germany’s BioNTech provided rocket fuel on Monday when they said their candidate for a Covid-19 vaccine had been 90 percent effective, lifting hope for a move towards normality for the planet.
And while the surge appeared to stutter in New York on Tuesday – the Dow jumped but the S&P 500 slipped – Asia was positive again.
Tokyo, Sydney and Seoul all rose more than one percent, while Hong Kong, Wellington, Taipei and Jakarta also enjoyed fresh gains.
Singapore and Manila, though, edged back on profit-taking after soaring Tuesday.
Coming up today
Corporate: Interim results: Great Portland Estates, Workspace (Interim results); McCarthy & Stone, Taylor Wimpey, Wetherspoon (JD) (Trading statements)
Economic: None scheduled.