Coronavirus crisis: FTSE 100 plummets AGAIN – global stock market panic intensifies
The index of Britain’s 100 biggest companies had fallen below 5,000 at 9.30am this morning – down 153 points.
This came after the FTSE 100 opened up 147 points or 2.9 per cent to 5,298 shortly after 8am.
The lading financial index had enjoyed a much-needed early morning bounce amid renewed hope of a coordinated global plan too combat the coronavirus crisis.
On Monday evening, leaders of the G7 group agreed to a joined-up response to the pandemic in aa desperate bid to contain the outbreak.
But by 12.45pm on Tuesday, the FTSE 100 lost its earlier gains, and was trading down 84.72 points at 5066,36.
The domestically-focussed FTSE MID250 index also gave up early gains to trade down three percent in its ninth straight session of losses.
Neil Wilson, an analyst at online trading platform Markets.com, said he was dubious of “any rallies having legs” with turbulence in leading stock market indexes set to continue for the foreseeable future.
He said: “People come in sniffing for bargains, they bid it up, and then any rally at the moment, it’s just getting sold.
“Until there is better knowledge of the situation on the ground, until the economic damage is known, and until we see a genuine spike in cases in the US and Europe, volatility levels will remain extremely high.”
Mr Wilson added there is growing speculation in the City that regulators could take urgent action and shut markets temporarily.
He said: “There had been chatter that regulators would start to think it’s time to call a halt to this, that they will step in to shutter stock markets for a limited period in an attempt to regain control of the situation.
“Jay Clayton, the SEC boss, said otherwise, but it remains a possibility.”
The leisure and travel sector have been heavily hit over the past 24 hours, after Boris Johnson urged people to stay away from pubs, restaurants and clubs, while also urging people to work from home whenever possible.
But several leading companies in the sector immediately suffered sharp falls.
Great Western Railway operator FirstGroup was down 26 percent, coach business National Express fell 22 percent, and Thameslink operator Go-Ahead down 16 percent.
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Several pub and entertainment groups also took a massive hit as companies warned the increased steps from UK authorities will be “catastrophic for businesses and jobs” and could threaten the existence of many pubs.
Pub operators JD Weatherspoon and Marston’s fell 10 percent and 28 percent respectively, while Cineworld plummeted by 26 percent.
The Prime Minister acknowledged the escalation of plans is unprecedented in peacetime, urging people to “avoid all non-essential contact” with others and to work from home wherever possible.
He ordered those over the age of 70 with underlying health problems to isolate for 12 weeks from this weekend.
Any household which has a single member displaying symptoms should self-isolate for up to 14 days.
But a huge row has erupted as Mr Johnson has not yet ordered pubs and restaurants to close as they have done across much of Europe, with businesses fearing serious implications over their ability to claim on insurance.
UK Hospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls warned: “This is catastrophic for businesses and jobs.
“The PM’s statement is the worst of all worlds leaving businesses, guests and teams all unprotected and in limbo.
“No insurance will apply unless the Government requires closure and even then any payout will come far too late to save millions of jobs.”
Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer & Pub Association, added: “The UK pub and brewing industry is tonight facing an existential crisis as a direct result of the guidance issued by the Government today.
“Thousands of pubs and hundreds of thousands of jobs will be lost in the very short term unless a proactive package creating cash and liquidity is provided immediately to the industry.
“Forced pub closures without a meaningful support package will have a catastrophic financial and social impact.”
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