10 FTSE 100 winners following Pfizer Covid rally

by Lee Wild from interactive investor |

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We name the UK blue-chip companies that reacted best to news of a possible cure for Covid-19.

UK investors have had a rough ride in 2020, and both the Covid-19 pandemic and tortuous Brexit saga have meant less money arriving here from overseas investors. But in just a few days, the tide appears to have turned.

Joe Biden’s US election victory has been welcomed by financial markets worldwide as it ends uncertainty around the American leadership, and there has even been rumour of progress in Brexit discussions. 

However, by far the biggest positive catalyst for many months has been news that a vaccine for Covid-19 could be within reach. American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) today announced that its vaccine, developed in partnership with BioNTech, was “more than 90% effective in preventing Covid-19”.

“The results demonstrate that our mRNA-based vaccine can help prevent Covid-19 in the majority of people who receive it,” said Albert Bourla, Pfizer chairman and chief executive. “This means we are one step closer to potentially providing people around the world with a much-needed breakthrough to help bring an end to this global pandemic.

“This is a first but critical step in our work to deliver a safe and effective vaccine.”

Bourla warns that these positive efficacy results from a Phase 3, late-stage study are not enough on their own, for Pfizer to apply for US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) Emergency Use Authorization. There will need to be more data on safety. However, he reckons enough data will be available for the FDA by the third week of November.

With extra data showing Pfizer can also make enough of any vaccine and meet quality standards, the company will have met all three requirements needed for it to file for authorisation.

“We look forward to sharing additional updates in the coming weeks and will continue to work closely with regulatory authorities to provide access to our anticipated vaccine for those who need it most,” said Bourla. 

Pfizer’s share price soared to its highest level since summer 2019 following the news. It also lit a rocket under global stock markets, with the Dow Jones index up around 4.8% at tea time in London. But it was overseas indices hardest hit by the pandemic that reacted best.

The French Cac 40 closed 7.6% higher, the UK’s FTSE 250 index added 5.9% and the German Dax finished 4.9% better. Even the FTSE 100, one of this year’s worst-performing stock markets, jumped 4.7% Monday to end the day at a three-month high. It has now risen around 680 points, or 12.3%, since making a seven-month low at the end of October.

There were stunning performances all over the place on the London exchange, but these were the 10 best blue-chip performers.

Company Share price move today (%)
Rolls-Royce Holdings (LSE:RR.) 43.8
International Consolidated Airlines Group (LSE:IAG) 25.5
Informa (LSE:INF) 22.2
British Land (LSE:BLND) 21.9
Compass Group (LSE:CPG) 21.7
Land Securities (LSE:LAND) 20.6
Taylor Wimpey (LSE:TW.) 18.6
Associated British Foods (LSE:ABF) 18.4
Prudential (LSE:PRU) 17.9
Standard Chartered (LSE:STAN) 16.5

Source: SharePad as at end of day 9 November 2020. Past performance is not a guide to future performance

It's perhaps unsurprising that the list is littered with many of the worst performers of 2020 so far as investors seek out cheap recovery plays.

Barclays (LSE:BARC) was best of the banks, up 15.9% Monday, with Lloyds Banking Group (LSE:LLOY) up 12.5%.

These articles are provided for information purposes only.  Occasionally, an opinion about whether to buy or sell a specific investment may be provided by third parties.  The content is not intended to be a personal recommendation to buy or sell any financial instrument or product, or to adopt any investment strategy as it is not provided based on an assessment of your investing knowledge and experience, your financial situation or your investment objectives. The value of your investments, and the income derived from them, may go down as well as up. You may not get back all the money that you invest. The investments referred to in this article may not be suitable for all investors, and if in doubt, an investor should seek advice from a qualified investment adviser.

Full performance can be found on the company or index summary page on the interactive investor website. Simply click on the company's or index name highlighted in the article.

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