FTSE 100 Live December 01: Federal Reserve Testimony Jerome Powell in Senate, US Inflation Pressures, Bond Reduction, Omicron Market Volatility, Nationwide House Prices

Travel and leisure stocks explode

Investors crowded into travel and leisure companies today as the FTSE 100 index moved closer to recovering losses seen on Red Friday.

Shares of British Airways owner IAG and Premier Inn chain Whitbread jumped 5% in hopes the Omicron variant wasn’t as bad as feared during Friday’s stock market meltdown.

Among the popular mid-cap stocks on the march, the Cineworld movie chain jumped 8% and low-cost airline easyjet cheered 6%.

The FTSE 100 index rebounded from yesterday’s losses to improve 1.3% or 96.60 points to 7,156.05, approaching the 7,310 seen before last week’s sell-off.

The turnaround came even as Wall Street was scared off by Federal Reserve boss Jerome Powell, signaling a faster slowdown in America’s massive bond buying program.

AJ Bell chief investment officer Russ Mold said: “Some traders seem to have decided that the weakness has gone far enough so far as they have emerged to drive up stocks and oil.”

Brent crude jumped 4.5% to $ 72.33 a barrel, pushing BP shares up 3%. BT Group also added 5.5p to 164.1p after JP Morgan backed the group as one of their picks for 2022.

The FTSE 250 index improved 1.3% or 295.51 points to 22,815.22, led by the Drax biomass power plant business after forecasting profits above city expectations.

Its shares gained 8% or 42.5p to 592.5p, just ahead of Cineworld as investors waited for a potential boost from strong seasonal lineup that includes Disney’s Encanto.

Redde Northgate rose 25p to 420p after the van rental business saw strong momentum amid the surge in demand created by the boom in online shopping.

The group, which also offers a range of car assistance services, said its half-year profits had jumped 177% to £ 78.9million.

Favorable trends also continue to benefit Pendragon, with the car dealership rising another 6% or 1.2p to 19.8p after its last forecast update.

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