FTSE plunges three per cent to 5,813 amid new Covid lockdown fears

FTSE 100 suffers worst plunge since June amid dire warnings of more coronavirus restrictions from Chris Whitty and Patrick Vallance as pubs, hotels and businesses say they will not survive a second lockdown

  • London’s blue-chip stock exchange slumped 3 per cent to a two-week low 
  • Markets have been spooked by reports PM is mulling a second lockdown 
  • Another round of restrictions could throttle business activity once again

Fears of a second coronavirus lockdown have knocked market confidence and put the FTSE 100 on course for its worst day in three months.

London’s blue-chip stock exchange slumped 3 per cent, or 194 points, to a two-week low of 5,813 this morning. 

Markets have been spooked by reports Boris Johnson is preparing to re-introduce restrictions which could throttle business activity once again.

It came as the government’s two top scientists Professor Chris Whitty and Sir Patrick Vallance warned the UK faces 50,000 new daily cases by the middle of October if the disease is not brought under control. 

Richard Hunter, head of markets at Interactive Investor, told MailOnline: ‘The threat of another lockdown is what’s really weighing on the markets today.’ 

The FTSE rally which followed the easing of the first lockdown fizzled out this month as the spread of the virus began to accelerate.  

Concerns of another lockdown were today compounded by an investigation into money laundering which implicated two big banks. 

Fears of a second coronavirus lockdown appears to have wobbled investor confidence and put the FTSE 100 on course for its worst day in three months

London’s blue-chip stock exchange slumped 3 per cent, or 194 points, to a two-week low of 5,813 this morning

British Airways-owner IAG plunged 12.6 per cent today, a blow to the national flag carrier which is already burning through £20million each day and is facing the worst crisis in its 100-year history

Mr Hunter said that the end of the year was always going to be tough with the furlough scheme ending an the potential for unemployment. 

But the ‘question mark’ hanging over the fortunes of the fourth quarter are ‘now getting bigger’.

He added: ‘If the PM were to stand up in the next half an hour and say there’s not going to be another lockdown, the FTSE would recover. 

‘But international investors have decided the British market is just too difficult at the moment.’  

Travel companies, which were among the hardest bit by the lockdown, also suffered on the stock markets.

British Airways-owner IAG plunged 12.6 per cent today, a blow to the national flag carrier which is already burning through £20million each day and is facing the worst crisis in its 100-year history.

Restrictions on travel between the UK and US will cost the British economy £11billion this year, an alarming report by the aviation sector warned today. 

HSBC (London HQ pictured), already trading at decade lows, slid 4.2 per cent, while Standard Chartered dropped 4.1 per cent to its lowest since 1998. Barclays tumbled 5.9 per cent

An index of travel and leisure stocks, already among the biggest decliners this year, tumbled 5.6 per cent. The mid-cap FTSE 250 fell 3.1 per cent to its lowest in nearly two months. 

Michael Hewson, an analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: ‘The possibility of new lockdowns is leading the market to be absolutely risk-averse toward consumer-facing sectors like travel, restaurants and retailers.’

Fashion retailer Superdry sank 12.8 per cent after posting an annual loss due to lockdown-led store closures, while the world’s largest exhibitions group, Informa Plc, fell 2.8 per cent as it reported a half-year operating loss.

Aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce plunged 9.6 per cent to its lowest since 2004 after it confirmed it was considering a rights issue of up to £2.5billion. 

A slide in HSBC, Standard Chartered and Barclays drove today’s FTSE plunge amid allegations they moved illicit funds over the past two decades.

HSBC, already trading at decade lows, slid 4.2 per cent, while Standard Chartered dropped 4.1 per cent to its lowest since 1998. Barclays tumbled 5.9 per cent.   

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