The index extended gains after the UK announced new restrictions on Tuesday but held back from imposing a full lockdown. Johnson's comments came ahead of an update due on Thursday from British finance minister Rishi Sunak on the economy and the government's plans to protect jobs. "The promise of a package reassured markets that jobs will be secured in some way, serving as a precursor to more severe measures that will likely be announced in the coming weeks," said Connor Campbell, financial analyst at spread better Spreadex.
Johnson urged citizens to work from home where possible and ordered bars and restaurants to close early, with the new restrictions likely to last six months. "The rhetoric of Boris Johnson (on Monday) was a lot worse than what the measures are," said Michael Baker, analyst at ETX Capital in London.
The FTSE 250 index <.FTMC> shed 1% as the spectre of a no-deal Brexit also loomed over markets, and the FTSE 100 <.FTSE> fell 0.7%. Britain's health minister said the novel coronavirus was accelerating, with hospital admissions doubling every eight days, but declined to say whether another national lockdown would be imposed next month. "There is a glass half-empty, half-full situation right now," said Roland Kaloyan, strategist at SocGen.