Will AstraZeneca shares provide shot in the arm for FTSE 100 futures?

FTSE 100 futures made early gains on January 4 as the AstraZeneca share price spiked following the first dose of its COVID-19 vaccine being administered.

  • FTSE 100 futures up as Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is deployed.
  • AstraZeneca share price gains more than 1.3% during early trading.
  • AstraZeneca shares peaked on Dec 30, then dropped by 4% on Dec 31, so analysts remain acutely alert.
  • NHS ready to vaccinate 2 million per week.
  • Want to trade FTSE 100 futures or AstraZeneca shares? Open an account to get started.

FTSE 100 futures opened at 6,460p on January 4 before gaining 3% thanks, in part, to an early surge for the AstraZeneca share price. As Brian Pinker received the first shot of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, markets across the UK reacted positively.

The joint project between Oxford University and AstraZeneca has been hailed as another important step in the fight against COVID-19. The UK has secured 100 million doses, meaning 50 million people will receive two shots in the coming months. 500,000 doses are set to be deployed this week, and Professor Stephen Powis, NHS England Medical Director, told the BBC that this can rise to 2 million per week in the coming month.

FTSE 100 futures start 2020 on a high

The FTSE 100 reacted positively to the news. The market closed at 6,412p on December 31 and quickly gained momentum on January 4. Within an hour of trading, FTSE 100 futures were up to 6,597p.

FTSE 100 futures have since moved above 6,620p on sell orders and 6,622p on buy orders. The roll-out of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine has also strengthened GBP. Daily FX charts show GBP/USD achieved a 0.1% increase from 1.3678 to 1.3695 (12.01am to 10.50am) on January 4.  

AstraZeneca shares have not only mirrored the FTSE 100 upswing but, in part, fuelled it. The pharmaceutical company opened 7,425p on Monday before climbing to 7,456p within an hour. By 11:00am, the AstraZeneca share price had exceeded 7,528p. The increase comes as the British government confirmed that it would, where necessary, combine the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine with the one made by Pfizer.

AstraZeneca shares spike for a second time

Patients could be given one dose from Pfizer and one from AstraZeneca over a 12-week period. Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Jonathan Van-Tam, said the move is the 'right thing to do' for the 'nation as a whole'. This decision means the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will take on a much greater significance in the UK’s coronavirus strategy.

This, in turn, has impacted the AstraZeneca share price in a similar way to what we saw in late December. Following a December 30 announcement that AstraZeneca’s vaccine had been approved in the UK, shares spiked. From a closing price of 7,479p the previous day, AstraZeneca shares peaked at 7,570p on December 30. That contrasts with a one-month low of 7,223p on December 24.

Analysts remain alert after AstraZeneca share price drops

Analysts will now assess the AstraZeneca share price over the coming days. The December 30 peak was followed by a drop of almost 4% a day later. Therefore, price watchers will be waiting to see if AstraZeneca shares follow a similar pattern this week.

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