England's coronavirus restrictions could finally be lifted by June 21 as part of a four-stage plan, Boris Johnson has announced as he declared "the end really is in sight".
The Prime Minister told MPs the approach was "cautious but also irreversible", with the impact of the vaccination programme replacing the need for lockdown measures.
He said a "wretched year would give way to a spring and a summer that will be very different and incomparably better".
The FTSE 100 came within a whisker of ending the day in the green after a late rally in hospitality and leisure stocks on the back of the PM’s roadmap.
It closed 11.78 points, or 0.18%, lower at 6,612.24 at the end of play.
The pound continued its rally, increased by 0.48% versus the US dollar to 1.408 and up 0.15% against the euro at 1.158.
The price of oil rebounded from last Friday's lows as continued supply concerns outweighed any worries about demand. The price of Brent crude oil increased by 2.67% to 64.59 dollars per barrel.
The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were IAG, up 12.35p at 178.1p, Rolls-Royce, up 6.79p at 105.45p, Informa, up 27.6p at 536.6p, and Compass, up 60p at 1,486p.
The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Ocado, down 158p at 2,401p, Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust, down 79p at 1,267p, Just Eat Takeaway, down 342p at 7,166p, and Smith & Nephew, down 58.5p at 1,415p.
James Forrester, MD of Barrows and Forrester, James Forrester: “Welcome news for the property market which has been running on the artificially fuelled demand of a stamp duty reprieve.
“With this due to end in March, there was a degree of uncertainty around the future of the market and whether we would see property prices nosedive as a result.
“With normality now starting to return, this is unlikely to materialise and while the market will simmer to a more measured level of activity in the wake of the stamp duty holiday, this will be far from the crash that many have predicted.”
Hugh Wade-Jones, MD of Enness Global Mortgages: “A clear plan of action will not only help steady the ship of the domestic market, but we should see foreign buyer interest in the UK market start to climb once again.
“While foreign buyer demand across the UK’s high-end market, in particular, has remained steady, travel restrictions have dampened appetites to an extent.
“However, with a more concrete view of when normality will return and an increase in stamp duty rates for foreign buyers on the horizon, we expect there will now be a mad scramble for prime UK property which will cause property values to climb as we head towards the spring.”