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Meteor Insights

The FTSE 100 Rally

After ending 2020 in the 6400s, the FTSE 100 is now edging towards a return to the 7000 milestone

The FTSE 100 index has had one of its best-ever starts to a new year. After ending 2020 in the 6400s, it is now edging towards a return to the 7000 milestone. The bullish smell in the air is the product of a number of stars aligning.

Firstly, the trade deal with the EU removed a major Brexit overhang that served to ward off investors. Secondly, vaccine rollouts have been slowly extinguishing COVID-19 jitters despite another lockdown and ballooning infection rates.

With the gates opened, the news over the pond that US president-elect Biden’s party claimed control of the Senate, boosted the index further. In reiterating his goals, Biden listed: “On Covid-19, on economic relief, on climate, on racial justice, on voting rights and so much more.” Under a Democrat-led Senate, these goals would be more likely realised.

This helped industries that benefit from fiscal stimulus (government spending) as there is an expectation for an increase in products such as commodities. This sentiment is especially strong given Biden’s emphasis on green infrastructure planning. The FTSE 100 index, with its exposure to banks, miners, and energy was well placed to benefit.

As to whether or not it still has the legs to carry on? It certainly has the potential. Compared to the European equities index, EURO STOXX 50, the FTSE 100 is still behind in the recovery race. The chart below plots the FTSE 100 (UKX Index) with the EURO STOXX 50 (SX5E Index) since the beginning of 2020 to date.

So, the companies in the FTSE 100 have more exposure to the sweet spot sectors mentioned, no longer have EU red tape to contend with and, relative to other benchmarks, still have room to grow. It looks primed to lift off but for some awkward warning signs. The Bank of England Governor, Andrew Bailey, for example, has said that Brexit would bring big economic losses to the UK. COVID-19 infections and deaths are hitting records, giving UK citizens a stark reminder that the risk is still very much present. At the epicentre of the crisis, is London. The resulting on/off lockdowns have hurt businesses and the current directive could last for several more months. In combination, it’s an ugly cocktail for the British economy.

For now, though, the FTSE 100 is worth watching. As usual, we continue to offer investment solutions that can navigate the landscape regardless of your views. Speak to our sales team if you have any specific perspectives you wish to explore.

Posted: 13 January 2021
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