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London close: Coronavirus worries drag on sentiment

By Alexander Bueso

Date: Monday 10 Feb 2020

London close: Coronavirus worries drag on sentiment

(Sharecast News) - London stocks were a little weaker on Monday amid ongoing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus, as the UK declared it a "serious and imminent threat" to the public and health secretary Matt Hancock declared Wuhan and Hubei province in China an "infected area".
That came as the death toll in China rose to 908, with more than 40,000 cases confirmed globally, eight of which were in the UK, and as analysts continued to pare their forecasts for Chinese economic growth in the first quarter.

The FTSE 100 was down 0.27% at 7,446.88, while the FTSE 250 slipped 0.03% to 21,492.32.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: "News that the number of deaths from the coronavirus has exceeded those from the SARS outbreak in 2003 appears to have given investors pause for thought on Monday."

"One of the first announcements on the Chinese economy since the outbreak began was released this morning, notably showing a big rise in inflation as food prices soared. And with the World Health Organisation warning that we may only have seen the tip of the iceberg in terms of coronavirus cases outside China, equities still look vulnerable to further weakness."

Data published earlier revealed an unexpected spike in the year-on-year rate of Chinese consumer price inflation to 5.4% for January after a 4.5% rise in December (consensus: 4.9%), due in part to the soaring cost of staple foods such as pork.

And on Sunday, World Health Organisation chief, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said that a smattering of coronavirus cases outside of China may "only be the tip of the iceberg", adding that the virus's spread outside of China, while slow, could accelerate.

David Madden at CMC Markets UK chipped in saying: "The losses endured today are a continuation of Friday's falls as dealers lock-in the profits they made from last week.

"The bullish move of last week was mostly fuelled by the actions of Chinese state bodies - injecting liquidity, imposing shorting bans, and promising to cut import levies, but now that stock markets are left to fend for themselves, they are moving lower."

In equity markets, budget airline easyJet flew lower, while Premier Inn owner Whitbread fell after a downgrade to 'sell' at Goldman Sachs.

More broadly, worries about the impact of the coronavirus were weighing on travel and hotel stocks, with cruise operator Carnival also in the red.

Going the other way, shares of NMC Health surged as it confirmed it had received "highly preliminary" approaches from Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and GK Investment Holding Group regarding possible offers for the company. The Middle East hospital operator also said its founder and chairman BR Shetty is conducting a legal review into potential historical inaccuracies relating to his own stake in the firm and those of three other shareholders.

Travelex owner Finablr, which shares its chair and co-founder with NMC Health, was also higher.

William Hill gained following a Sunday Times report that the company is in the final stages of announcing a landmark US partnership with national broadcaster CBS.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,446.88 -0.27%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 21,493.32 -0.03%
techMARK (TASX) 4,136.83 -0.25%

FTSE 100 - Risers

NMC Health (NMC) 900.00p 28.57%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 823.80p 3.05%
British Land Company (BLND) 570.00p 1.93%
Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,634.50p 1.87%
Compass Group (CPG) 1,984.00p 1.69%
Next (NXT) 6,878.00p 1.69%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 956.20p 1.64%
Persimmon (PSN) 3,078.00p 1.15%
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 844.40p 1.13%
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) 1,717.60p 1.02%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

Centrica (CNA) 82.82p -2.72%
Carnival (CCL) 3,044.00p -2.25%
Evraz (EVR) 389.20p -2.09%
Vodafone Group (VOD) 150.00p -1.99%
Glencore (GLEN) 229.10p -1.76%
Hikma Pharmaceuticals (HIK) 1,879.00p -1.73%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 835.80p -1.55%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 4,122.50p -1.54%
Informa (INF) 789.00p -1.47%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 495.00p -1.36%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Finablr (FIN) 78.60p 9.93%
Jupiter Fund Management (JUP) 389.70p 4.09%
Go-Ahead Group (GOG) 2,128.00p 3.80%
William Hill (WMH) 178.45p 3.12%
Apax Global Alpha Limited (APAX) 185.00p 2.78%
Hammerson (HMSO) 228.50p 2.51%
Balfour Beatty (BBY) 273.40p 2.40%
Syncona Limited NPV (SYNC) 237.50p 2.15%
IP Group (IPO) 67.30p 2.12%
Energean Oil & Gas (ENOG) 760.00p 2.01%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Tullow Oil (TLW) 45.00p -5.92%
Future (FUTR) 1,200.00p -4.00%
Games Workshop Group (GAW) 7,110.00p -3.27%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 140.00p -2.98%
Pagegroup (PAGE) 468.40p -2.54%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 179.10p -2.13%
Barr (A.G.) (BAG) 580.00p -2.03%
Pantheon International (PIN) 2,475.00p -1.98%
Network International Holdings (NETW) 624.00p -1.89%
Fresnillo (FRES) 652.60p -1.84%

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