By Steve Goldstein
The top U.K. stock market index slumped on Friday, dragged lower by worries over how quickly the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines can restore the economy.
Moving lower in afternoon trade, the FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.76% traded 1.7% lower, which would be its third straight decline. Markets reacted negatively to the news that the single-dose vaccine from the pharmaceutical arm of Johnson & Johnson /zigman2/quotes/201724570/composite JNJ +0.55% was 66% effective, even though medical experts cheered the news. Biotech Novavax /zigman2/quotes/205195869/delayed UK:0A3S +3.77% separately reported a trial of its vaccine in the U.K. was successful.
The slow rollout of vaccines across the European Union is also damaging hopes of restoring travel with the U.K.’s neighbors.
Barratt Developments /zigman2/quotes/209812640/delayed UK:BDEV +0.10% fell 3%, after the U.K. home builder was downgraded to hold from buy at Berenberg, which said it has closed the valuation gap with rivals and its own history.
Prudential’s /zigman2/quotes/200530572/delayed UK:PRU +1.22% shares fell for a second day, after announcing it would spin off Jackson National via a demerger instead of an initial public offering and that it was considering raising up to $3 billion through the sale of stock. Analysts at UBS, while keeping a buy, cut the price target to 1695 pence from 1750 pence. Deutsche Bank also kept a buy but lowered its price target to 1400 pence from 1510 pence.