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BUSINESS LIVE: Omicron fears rock markets; AJ Bell trading app

One in 16 UK homes changed hands in 2021

This year is set to be the UK’s busiest in terms of housing transactions since the financial crisis, as one in 16 homes will have changed hands.

By the end of 2021, one in 16 homes will have been sold in the previous 12 months – the highest rate since 2007.

Omicron variant shakes markets

While the FTSE 100 has bounced this morning, following its worst session in more than a year on Friday, the emergence of the Omicron variant of Covid-19 has been impacting global markets.

China’s blue-chip CSI300 index closed 0.2 per cent lower, while Japan’s Nikkei was 1.6 per cent lower.

European stock markets have also opened lower this morning, while gold spot price is up 0.2 per cent to $1,794.87 per ounce.

'The global economic recovery is set for an unwelcome detour'

The global economic recovery is set for an unwelcome detour as investors assess the potential impact of the new Omicron variant.

The volatility index has spiked sharply higher, with the main indices seeing a widespread wave of selling as the nemesis of markets, uncertainty, has returned. With little known at this stage about the new variant in terms of vaccine resistance and its level of contagion, many countries have taken swift action in closing their borders in an effort to prevent another global situation.

One such example of the potential concern has been the oil price, which fell sharply lower in anticipation of slowing demand. Some subsequent recovery is currently being seen and, although the recent losses have not been recouped, the oil price nonetheless remains ahead by 46% in the year to date.

There may be some lessening of volatility as more detail is released, and in any event the current malaise should delay the immediate pressure on monetary tightening as central banks assess the potential economic damage from the new strain.

BT leads FTSE gains on takeover speculation

The FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 are up 0.8 per cent and 1 per cent, respectively, in early trading, bucking the trend in Asian and European markets, which are both in the red this morning.

Telecoms giant BT leads gains this morning, rising 8 per cent, amid ongoing speculation of a possible takeover bid.

Number of floats in London more than trebles this year

The number of floats in London more than trebled this year in another sign that the City and the UK are thriving in the wake of the pandemic.

Research shows 113 companies joined the stock market in the year to October – compared with just 36 the year before.

Britain's housing market celebrates its busiest year since the heady pre-financial crisis days of 2007

Around one in 16 privately owned homes will have changed hands by the end of the year, according to property portal Zoopla.

This is up from one in 20 in 2019, before the pandemic hit.

GlaxoSmithKline ready for human trials of HIV cure

GlaxoSmithKline is getting ready to kick off human trials of an HIV cure as its boss mounts a fight-back against activist investors.

The British drugs titan, which hopes to start ground-breaking trials as soon as next summer, will today provide an update to the City on its potential cure for the disease.

MPs pile on the pressure over online scams

Ministers will today face a grilling from MPs over their lack of action to tackle online scams. 

John Glen, economic secretary to the Treasury, and security minister Damian Hinds are set to appear before the Treasury committee amid a rising tide of internet fraud.