The main London stock index hovered at levels unheard of since April as concerns over the spread of COVID-19 hit global markets on Wednesday.
The FTSE 100
fell 3.1% to 5,552.76, while the pound
fell 0.6% to $ 1.2963 as investors sought protection in the US dollar. A strong dollar works against multinational companies making revenue outside the UK as it makes their goods less competitive overseas.
But almost everything worked against UK stocks than US.
and Brent oil
Prices fell by over 5%. The goods were damaged by a storm in the Gulf of Mexico and significantly higher inventory data from an industrial trading group.
Heavily weighted oil companies like Royal Dutch Shell
fell by more than 3% each time.
Rising COVID-19 cases across Europe, where France and Germany were ready to impose new restrictionsand climbing falls in the US rocked global investors. In the UK, Mark Walport, a member of the government’s emergency scientific advisory group, warned that the number of patients in the hospital could exceed the spring summit by November if the government stops restricting movement.
Pharmaceutical stocks were hit hard, with AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline shares falling 3% and 5%, respectively. Only the aerospace and defense sectors were green with Rolls-Royce
a standout winner up 14%.
“The biggest declines today were in commercial real estate. British Land and Land Securities took huge losses fearing further freezes would erode their real estate portfolios,” added Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets.
This also affected the travel and leisure stocks with shares in International Consolidated Airlines
by 5% and easyJet
by 4%, while the InterContinental Hotels Group fell by almost 4%.