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D-PIMS Weekly Market Update - Week of 20th to 26th December 2021

Today’s weekly update:

Over the course of last week, market moving headlines were mostly economic, and Covid-19 related:

• On Monday, Foreign Secretary Liz Truss became Britain's lead negotiator with the European Union over trade to Northern Ireland following the resignation of Brexit minister David Frost, "Liz Truss will take over Ministerial responsibility for the UK’s relationship with the European Union with immediate effect and will lead the ongoing negotiations to resolve the problems arising from the current operation of the Northern Ireland Protocol," Boris Johnson's office said.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday he was looking at all kinds of measures to keep the Omicron coronavirus variant under control as the situation was extremely difficult, cautioning that further restrictions might be needed.

• On Tuesday, US President Biden’s administration said it will open federal COVID-19 testing sites in New York City this week and buy 500 million at-home rapid tests that Americans can order online for free starting in January, as it tries to tackle the Omicron variant sweeping the country.

Ireland believes talks between Britain and the European Union are on track for progress and David Frost's replacement as British lead negotiator by Liz Truss has not changed that, prime minister Micheal Martin said on Tuesday.

Britain announced on Tuesday £1 billion pounds of extra support for businesses hit hardest by the wave of Omicron variant coronavirus cases, which is hammering the country's hospitality sector and other businesses. The grants were equivalent to those provided to hospitality businesses when they were fully closed earlier this year, the finance ministry said.

• Pfizer Inc said on Wednesday it will provide an additional 2.5 million doses of its COVID-19 treatment pill Paxlovid to the United Kingdom. A total of 2.75 million doses of the pill are expected to be delivered to the UK through 2022, the drugmaker said.

A South African study offered Christmas glad tidings about the severity of Omicron and the trend of COVID-19 infections on Wednesday, as the fast-spreading coronavirus variant forced countries across the world to impose new curbs. The authors found that the risk of hospital admission was roughly 80% lower for those with Omicron, and that for those in hospital the risk of severe disease was roughly 30% lower. Still, the authors included caveats and cautioned against jumping to conclusions, saying high population immunity was a likely factor. A study by Imperial College London the previous week found no sign Omicron was milder.

The UK government said that from Wednesday it was reducing the COVID-19 self-isolation period to seven days from 10 days for people in England who get a negative result on a lateral flow test two days in a row.

• On Thursday, AstraZeneca said a three-dose course of their COVID-19 vaccine is effective against the rapidly-spreading Omicron coronavirus variant, citing data from an Oxford University lab study. Findings from the study, match those from rivals Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna, which have also found a third dose of their shots works against Omicron.

• Over the week, the main Global Stockmarkets up, but after taking the strengthening Pound in to account returns were lower and Far East Markets were in a negative. Markets were buoyed by emerging confirmations that Omicron may be leading to less hospitalisations then Delta. Over the week, all the D-PIMS Portfolios up, especially the higher risk Portfolios. The Portfolios were helped by their domestic UK allocations and their low weightings to Bonds.

The value of investments and the income from them can fall as well as rise and you may not get back the original amount you invested.

Past Performance is no guarantee of, or guide to future returns.

The comments made above represent our interpretation of events and market views and are in no way a guarantee of future investment performance.