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FTSE 100 tracks Asia gains on COVID-19 treatment hopes

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* FTSE 100 up 1.2%, FTSE 250 adds 0.5%

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

The drugmaker gained 1.5% and was the top boost to the FTSE 100 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.

The export-laden FTSE 100 was up 1.2% after ending Friday with its first weekly loss in three as fresh Brexit concerns compounded fears over the UK’s post-pandemic economic recovery.

The blue-chip index has gained about 23% from its March lows, but lagged the U.S. benchmark S&P 500, which is scaling record highs on historic fiscal and monetary stimulus and hopes that the worst of the pandemic’s economic damage was 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.

The UK’s mid-cap FTSE 250 rose 0.5%, led by financial, industrial and consumer discretionary stocks. (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by Subhranshu Sahu)

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