(Reuters) - Britain’s blue-chip FTSE 100 index bounced off a near four-month low on Monday as Astrazeneca and GlaxoSmithKline rose on news about their respective COVID-19 vaccines, while a weaker pound helped exporters.
The FTSE 100 .FTSE ended 2.4% higher after a three-week losing streak, with Astrazeneca's AZN.L stock move providing the biggest boost to the index as the British drugmaker struck a deal with Australia's CSL CSL.AX to manufacture its coronavirus vaccine.
Meanwhile, GlaxoSmithKline GSK.L also rose on new details on the pricing of its vaccine.
Britain's domestically-focussed FTSE 250 .FTMC rose for the first time in three sessions, up 1.7%, after a U.S.-technology rout spread into other sectors last week. [.N]
Still, trading volumes were muted on account of a U.S. market holiday.
British stocks sank further from pre-pandemic highs last week, as doubts persisted over an economic recovery.
The pound GBP= fell sharply after Britain warned the European Union that it could effectively override the divorce deal it signed unless the bloc agrees to a free trade deal by Oct. 15.
“The probability of a deal seems to be reducing with state aid the surprising current sticking point ... This has certainly raised the stakes at a fraught time in talks,” Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid said.
Shares of homebuilders .FTNMX3720 jumped 2.3% after data showed British house prices hit a record high in August, adding to signs of a post-lockdown housing market boom.
And Associated British Foods ABF.L rose 0.5% after saying trading in its latest quarter exceeded expectations.
Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu and Alexander Smith
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.