Live news from January 4: US, UK and France report record Covid cases, Boris Johnson to boost testing access for critical workers, record 4.5m Americans quit their jobs in November

The UK’s FTSE 100 led European equities higher after survey data indicated China’s manufacturing industry had not been significantly derailed by the Omicron coronavirus variant.

The blue-chip UK share index, which is dominated by energy, resources and financial stocks that respond well to signs of robust global growth, rose 1 per cent in early dealings on Tuesday. London’s markets were closed for a public holiday on Monday.

Europe’s regional Stoxx 600 equity gauge added 0.6 per cent on Tuesday, building on a record set in the previous trading session. In Asia, Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 closed 1.8 per cent higher.

A purchasing managers’ index for China’s manufacturing sector, produced by Caixin and Markit, rose to a higher than expected reading of 50.9 for December. This drove the index, which collates executives’ responses to questions on topics such as hiring plans and new orders and shows expansion when it rises above 50, to its highest level since June.

On Wall Street, futures indicated the S&P 500 share index would open 0.2 per cent higher after closing at a record on Monday, pulled up by gains for Apple and electric carmaker Tesla.

Apple’s market capitalisation rose to $3tn on Monday, making it the first company to achieve this valuation.

US Treasury prices steadied following sharp falls on Monday as traders backed out of the assets, which are sensitive to expectations of higher interest rates and inflation.

The yield on the benchmark 10-year note, which moves inversely to its price, was flat at 1.623 per cent after rising more than 0.13 percentage points in the previous session. Germany’s equivalent Bund yield, which determines borrowing costs in the eurozone, was steady at minus 0.132 per cent.

Brent crude, the oil benchmark, was steady at $78.93 a barrel ahead of a meeting among members of the Opec+ producer group.

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