European stock markets mixed as UK revises travel guidance

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·4-min read
Harry Smith Beach, Bottom Bay, Barbados.
Harry Smith Beach, Bottom Bay, Barbados. People entering the UK from Spain’s Balearic Islands, Barbados, Madeira and Malta will not have to quarantine from 30 June. Photo: Getty

Stocks in Europe were mixed on Friday after the UK updated its travel guidance and added a number of countries to its green list.

In London, the FTSE 100 (^FTSE) ended almost 0.4%, with energy stocks leading the way, while the CAC (^FCHI) was 0.1% lower in France and the German DAX (^GDAXI) was 0.1% up.

It came as it was revealed that people entering the UK from Spain’s Balearic Islands, Barbados, Madeira and Malta will not have to quarantine from 30 June.

Transport secretary Grant Shapps said that the government also intended to drop quarantine for fully vaccinated people returning from amber list countries "later in the summer". This will take place in phases, starting with UK residents.

"We're moving forward with efforts to safely reopen international travel this summer, and thanks to the success of our vaccination programme, we're now able to consider removing the quarantine period for fully-vaccinated UK arrivals from amber countries - showing a real sign of progress,” he said.

"It's right that we continue with this cautious approach, to protect public health and the vaccine rollout as our top priority, while ensuring that our route out of the international travel restrictions is sustainable."

Watch: England releases updated COVID-19 travel list

A number of destinations, however, were also added to the red travel list, including Dominican Republic, Eritrea, Haiti, Mongolia, Tunisia and Uganda.

On Thursday, the UK reported more than 16,700 cases and 21 deaths within 28 days of a positive coronavirus test.

Elsewhere, the pound steadied against the dollar (GBPUSD=X) after taking a minor knock when the Bank of England warned of a spike in inflation on Thursday.

Read more: How to get travel insurance amid UK rulings on red, green, and amber countries

Ian Strafford-Taylor, CEO at travel money expert FairFX said: “Today’s, albeit limited, expansion of the government’s green list will be something to celebrate for holidaymakers who have been chomping at the bit for some summer sun. Brits will now be hoping more countries are added in 3 weeks’ time, and that Portugal’s short tenure on the list is a sign of things to come.

"With limited options, holidaymakers will need to shop around for the best deals. While the pound is yet to return to the pre-pandemic highs of 1.2 against the Euro we saw last February, it is on the up, so people should keep a close eye on exchange rates and consider locking them in while they’re high."

Across the pond, the S&P 500 (^GSPC) rose 0.3% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq (^IXIC) was flat at the time of the European close. The Dow Jones (^DJI) surged 0.7%.

It came as US inflation jumped to 3.9% year-on-year in May, in line with economists' forecasts and ahead of the 3.6% recorded in April. On its core reading, inflation hit 3.4% last month, the largest annual increase since 1991.

However, sentiment among US consumers slipped in the second half of June, according to a University of Michigan survey released on Friday.

The final reading was 85.5, down from an earlier estimate of 86.4, and below economists’ expectations.

Watch: What is inflation and why is it important?

On Thursday, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq managed to shrug off all of their post Fed losses to close at new record highs, although the Dow and Russell 2000 have lagged behind somewhat.

Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “Last night’s gains were helped by the bipartisan agreement of a $579bn (£416bn) infrastructure bill, much less than the Democrats would have liked, but still a fairly decent addition to all of the other stimulus packages seen in the past six months.

“The new spending would include money for roads, bridges, rail and public transit, all areas that have been sorely neglected over the years. While the agreement is welcome it still faces a high bar in passing into law given the Democrats narrow majorities on Capitol Hill.”

Read more: Biden, Bipartisan senate group reach a deal on infrastructure plan

Investors are also awaiting the latest release of inflation data in the US, which will offer the latest indication of how much pressure the Federal Reserve is under to move.

Economists polled by Reuters expect the core personal consumption expenditures index to post its fastest rise in nearly three decades, with year-on-year gains of 3.4%.

Meanwhile, Asian shares rose on Friday, boosted by the rally on Wall Street that came after Biden’s deal on infrastructure spending.

In Japan, Nikkei (^N225) climbed 0.6% while the Hang Seng (^HSI) rose 1.4% and the Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) gained 1.1%.

Watch: What are SPACs?

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