However, limiting gains was a jump in Britain’s unemployment rate to 5.0%, the highest since 2016, as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to take its toll on the economy.
“Even though the unemployment rate is at 5%, it was meant to go to 5.1%. So, there were positive angles to pick among the negative news and I think that seems to have benefited sentiment alongside pound falling,” said Connor Campbell, a financial analyst at SpreadEx.
The pound fell 0.3% against the dollar to a one-week low, supporting the exporter-heavy FTSE 100 index.
Drugmaker AstraZeneca gained 0.5% and was one of the top boosts to the blue-chip index after denying reports that its COVID-19 vaccine was not very effective for people over 65.
German media reports said officials fear the vaccine may not be approved in the European Union for use in the elderly population.