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FTSE 100 latest: drugmakers surge while energy stocks fall

British shares finished the week in positive territory again as investors flocked to the drugmakers in the hope of coronavirus treatments.

FTSE 100 Source: Bloomberg

FTSE 100 ends week up after mid-week dip, recovery

British shares finished the week slightly higher in a shortened trading week as investors caught their breath after the booking the best week since 2009 last week.

However, it was still a wild ride with a large drop on Wednesday cancelled out by a recovery on Thursday.

FTSE 100 shares started the week on Tuesday due to Easter Monday on 5868.9 points and finished Friday’s session at 5828.3 points, a modest 0.7% increase.

However the benchmark British index touched a low of 5535.5 points in Wednesday’s session, a 5.7% drop from Tuesday’s open, as investors gyrated on reports about the length of Britain’s economic lockdown due to the coronavirus.

But the FTSE 100 rallied almost as much on Thursday as positive sentiment crept back into airline stocks. A modestly positive session on Friday, as investors cheered America’s plan to re-open its economy, the largest in the world, locked in another positive week for the FTSE 100.

Drug makers help offset airlines

Beneath the headline numbers of the FTSE 100, investors were trading hard on two key themes of the coronavirus pandemic – travel restrictions and treatments.

On Thursday, budget airline EasyJet said it would remain cash positive even if its fleet was grounded for nine months after securing new loans and cash savings to boost its reserves to £3.3 billion.

Europe’s second-biggest low-cost carrier also flagged no new aircraft deliveries next year, while its base case for the size of its fleet was reduced by 10% to 302 jets.

While the airline’s shares still finished the week down 6.0% to 638.80p against last week’s close of 679.80p, the positive finish on Thursday sparked a rally in travel and leisure stocks of 5.5%.

Fellow airline Ryanair finished the week flat at 10.03p, while International Consolidated Airlines Group ended the week down 5.8% to 233.40p.

Earlier, on Tuesday, shares in drug maker AstraZeneca's surged 5.6% after the company said it would start a clinical trial on the potential of cancer drug Calquence to treat exaggerated immune response associated with coronavirus in severely ill patients.

The pharmaceutical company finished the week at 7,970p, an 11.9% jump from its closing price on Thursday of 7,124p.

Fellow drug maker GlaxoSmithKline ended the week up 7.5% at 1,660p against last week’s close of 1,554.40p.

The FTSE 100 was weighed down by energy companies as hopes faded that a blockbuster production cut deal between Saudi Arabia and Russia wouldn’t be enough to lift oil prices.

BP ended the week down 10.47% at 304.38p, while Royal Dutch Shell finished out the week lower at 1,343p.

After a week in which data out of China and the US dominated, UK investors will have a more local focus next week with unemployment numbers out on Tuesday followed by CPI on Wednesday in their weekend trading

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