FTSE 100 finishes 70 points higher as economic recovery hopes grow

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The FTSE-100 Index finished up 76.49 points higher at 6144.25 today as hopes about an economic recovery grew.

"Society has quickly become accustomed to social distancing measures. This shift in behaviour sends a positive signal to markets as it helps to remove layers of uncertainty which have been hanging over share prices," said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

Leisure stocks once again drove the index higher as British Airways owner IAG and EasyJet leapt.

Another notable riser was M&G, the UK arm of the old Prudential group before it did the splits last year, which surged after it shrugged off calls for insurers to scrap their dividends in the light of Covid-19. Quite right too, said shareholders smacking their lips at the prospect of £410 million coming their way.

M&G said it could afford the payout, stressing that pensioners and savers relied on it for reliable dividend income.

British Land also gained after predictably reporting grim news on its retail properties' valuation, but markets were more focused in CEO Chris Grigg's comments about the future. He's confident offices will continue to be relevant post-lockdown, as long as they're big, open, modern spaces like British Land's. We shall see.

Few things can be more dispiriting for a chief executive's career than when your share price leaps on the announcement of your resignation. But so it it was for retail property landlord David Atkins at Hammerson. He announced he was quitting after a torrid time for the group and the news was applauded with a uptick in the shares.

Mid-caps hit an 11 week high with the domestically focused FTSE 250 up over 1.2%.​