UPDATE 2-FTSE 100 rises on virus treatment hopes; AstraZeneca boosts

  • Reuters
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UPDATE 2-FTSE 100 rises on virus treatment hopes; AstraZeneca boosts
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* Report says U.S. mulling fast-tracking potential vaccine

* Financial, industrial stocks boost mid-cap index

* Bunzl rises on resuming dividends

* Wetherspoons slips as sales still down; calls for more VAT aid

* FTSE 100 gains 1.7%, FTSE 250 up 0.6% (Adds comments, updates price to close)

By Sagarika Jaisinghani and Shreyashi Sanyal

Aug 24 (Reuters) - The FTSE 100 jumped on Monday after U.S. health regulators authorised a COVID-19 treatment over the weekend, while AstraZeneca boosted the index on a report the U.S. government was considering fast-tracking its experimental vaccine.

The British drugmaker AZN.L gained 2.1% as the report said one option being explored would involve the U.S. health regulator awarding "emergency use authorisation" in October to the potential vaccine. export-laden FTSE 100 .FTSE was up 1.7%, capping its best session in 12 days, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 .FTMC rose 0.6%, led by financials and industrials.

"These are typical August markets where you don't have a lot that's driving them up except the absence of bad news," said Michael Hewson, a market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 has bounced from its March lows but lagged the U.S. benchmark S&P 500 .SPX , which is scaling record highs on fiscal and monetary stimulus and hopes that the worst of the pandemic's economic damage is over.

On Sunday, the U.S. Food & Drug Administration said it authorised the use of blood plasma from patients who had recovered from COVID-19 as a treatment for the disease. last week was beset by the economic realities of the COVID-19 pandemic, then Monday is starting out with a (temporary) cure for those concerns," said financial analyst Connor Campbell at spreadbetters Spreadex.

The focus will turn to U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell's address at the Kansas City Fed's annual conference on Thursday for any hints as to the central bank's efforts to revamp its approach to monetary policy. Plc BNZL.L gained 2.8% after resuming dividends, while pub operator J D Wetherspoon JDW.L fell 3% as its sales were still down sharply year-on-year despite the government's subsidised meal scheme and calls for tax relief for the hospitality sector to be extended.

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