US stocks open higher
Despite a pullback today, the London stock market is heading for its best week since April amid rising hopes that a coronavirus vaccine can trigger a faster economic revival from the pandemic than first anticipated.
The FTSE 100 index of leading UK company shares is on track to end the week more than 300 points higher, a rise of almost 7%, despite a modest sell-off on Friday as City investors bet it would still take time to deploy the vaccine and for Britain’s economy to stage a full recovery.
Financial markets around the world have soared since Pfizer/BioNTech announced earlier this week that its Covid vaccine was 90% effective in protecting people from transmission of the virus in global trials. Russia also said on Wednesday that its own candidate, Sputnik V, had shown in trials it could cut the likelihood of catching the disease by 92%.
However, the continued rapid spread of the virus and the start of tougher lockdown restrictions has limited gains in stock markets as the second wave of Covid inflicts a heavy toll on the global economy.
Shares in the blue-chip London index were down by 0.5% on Friday lunchtime to trade at about 6,300, as optimism earlier this week was tempered by the prospect of a difficult winter before a vaccine becomes widely available.
Tesco has apologised after its grocery website was overwhelmed with shoppers trying to book delivery slots for Christmas.
Customers complained they had been forced to join an online queue for hours after it opened bookings for Christmas week for shoppers signed up to Tesco’s Delivery Pass subscription service.
The retailer said it had also paused sign-ups to the Delivery Pass service “to help support our existing and vulnerable customers because of the high demand for online slots.”
Messages on Tesco’s official Twitter account told shoppers the website had suffered from a “technical issue” which it was trying to fix.
“We’re sorry if things take a bit longer than usual,” Tesco said. “We’re experiencing a huge volume of customers who are trying to book a slot at the moment,” it said.
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