London’s blue-chip FTSE 100 index fell 1.3 percent after closing at a near two-week high on Tuesday, while midcap shares lost 1.1 percent- down from a three-week high – as the UK continues to tackle the coronavirus crisis. The news comes after shares in Britain’s biggest retailer Tesco fell 4.7 percent after saying it expects to take a hit of up to £925 million and warned it was unable to give a profit forecast for this financial year.
Britain’s equity markets lost steam as rising deaths globally doused hopes that the coronavirus crisis was abating.
Insurers Aviva and Direct Line fell 8.9 percent and 4.9 percent, respectively, after they pulled their 2019 final dividends as they look to ride out the economic fallout from the pandemic.
On a brighter note, healthcare company Novacyt surged 17.4 percent after it got a green signal for its COVID-19 diagnostic test for procurement under the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) Emergency Use Listing process.
Meanwhile, European shares dipped on Wednesday following a two-day rally, as the number of coronavirus deaths rose again in Spain, while France became the fourth country to report a death toll of more than 10,000.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 0.9 percent at 7.03am after a strong start to the week on hopes that infections were plateauing in the worst hit parts of Europe and the US.
The benchmark index has gained about 20 percent since hitting an eight-year low on March 16, powered by aggressive global stimulus measures, but remains 25 percent below its all-time high with sentiment being driven by progress to contain the pandemic.
Meanwhile, Asian stocks were mixed on Wednesday after two sessions of sharp gains as death tolls from the deadly disease continued to mount across the globe.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan first falling almost 1 percent before clawing back to be little changed.
Japan’s Nikkei stood out with a rise of 2.3 percent as the confirmation of a state of emergency led some to buy back hard-hit transport and retail stocks. Shanghai blue chips lost 0.3 percent.
Analysts at JPMorgan warned there were reasons to be “cautious”, saying in a note: “There is reason to be cautious as this looked to be a relief rally ahead of next week’s start of Q1 earnings season and before data reveals the depth of the virus impact.
“Data shows the recent move higher has been accompanied by short-covering and de-risking rather than active risk-taking on the long side.”
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8.45am update: London Stock Exchange update
The FTSE-100 index at 8.45am was down 53.61 at 5650.84.
8.16am update: FTSE 100 update
The FTSE-100 index at 8.15am was down 70.07 at 5634.38.
7.51am update: Gold prices stuck
Gold prices were stuck at $1,648, after touching a 3-1/2-week high on Tuesday at $1,671.
7.47am update: Wild swings in oil market
US crude futures jumped 6.4 percent to $25.18 a barrel, having shed 9.4 percent the session before, while Brent crude added $1.02 to $32.89.
7.46am update: FTSE 100 opening
The FTSE-100 index at 7.44am was unchanged at 5704.45.
7.39am update: Australia’s dollar down
Ratings agency S&P Global warned the cost of combating the virus would weigh heavily on Australia’s finances and changed the outlook for the country’s rating to negative.
That knocked the Aussie dollar down 0.5 percent to $0.6137 and gave its US peer a lift. The US dollar added 0.2percent on the yen to 108.93, while the euro dipped 0.2 percent to $1.0865 .
Against a basket of currencies, the dollar edged up 0.2 percent to 100.170.
Published at Wed, 08 Apr 2020 06:34:00 +0000