Four in five city workers return to their desks in time for the holiday season

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The FTSE 100 is expected to open higher this morning even as the spread of the omicron strain of the coronavirus keeps traders in a cautious mood.

Investors are bracing for another week of volatility after concerns over the new variant led to the blue chip index’s worst month in more than a year.

It lost more than 2% in November, with airline stocks particularly hard hit. This morning, the Footsie is expected to open 48 points, or about 0.7pc more at 7,170.

Traders will also keep an eye out for a speech by Ben Broadbent, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, on whether an interest rate hike is being considered this month.

5 things to start your day

1) Bank of England to relax mortgage rules: Authorities are considering relaxing affordability controls as critics warn there is a risk of a housing bubble.

2) Recruiters struggle to recruit recruiters amid ‘big resignation’: Headhunters broaden their search for personnel in a context of generalized shortage

3) Crackdown on Crypto Firms Needed to ‘Destroy’ Ransomware, Says Former GCHQ Boss: Robert Hannigan said there was a need to “further regulate cryptocurrencies” to make the hacking method a “bad business model”.

4) No progress has been made in closing the gender pay gap in 25 years, warns IFS: The results suggest little progress in the wage gap when one takes into account a “rapid improvement” in women’s education.

5) Too few mechanics for UK electric car ambitions, Halfords boss warns: Graham Stapleton said he was “very concerned” that sufficient steps are not being taken to address the “skills gap”.

What happened during the night

Asian markets fell broadly on Monday morning, following uncertainty over the Omicron variant of Covid-19 as well as disappointing US employment data and the future of Chinese tech companies on Wall Street. Tokyo, Seoul, Hong Kong and Australia fell in morning trading.

Future

  • Business : Paragon, Renew Holdings, CareTech (Annual results) Babcock, Supreme, Mercia Asset Management (Interim) Ashtead, BAT, Ferguson (Commercial update)
  • Economy: sale of Kantar supermarket (UK), ONS M&A (UK), Consumer credit (WE)

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