The latest from London: FTSE 100 falls on Omicron uncertainty

12/02/2021 | 06:00am

The FTSE 100 is down 0.5% today, following mixed trading in Asia and a lower close on Wall Street due to the confirmation of a first U.S. Omicron case - a traveler coming from South Africa. Uncertainty about the new variant continues to weigh on investor sentiment.

Investors are also digesting comments from Fed chair Jerome Powell, who acknowledged that inflation might not be so transitory after all, and could continue beyond the second half of next year. This comes after comments that the Fed is considering accelerating the reduction of its asset purchases.

In company news, Halfords Group announced it will launch a share placing to raise up to around 64 million pounds, which will fund the acquisition of Axle Group Holdings and help maintain its balance sheet.

Tech stocks are the biggest fallers today in London, with Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust and Ocado down 2%.

Royal Dutch Shell is the best performer, after it started $1.5 billion of share buybacks as part of $7 billion of shareholder distributions.

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