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London midday: Stocks tumble amid coronavirus pandemic fears

By Michele Maatouk

Date: Monday 24 Feb 2020

London midday: Stocks tumble amid coronavirus pandemic fears

(Sharecast News) - London stocks took a beating on Monday, with the top-flight index down more than 3% by midday as global markets were roiled by growing concerns of a coronavirus pandemic.
The FTSE 100 was 3.5% lower at 7,148.38, while UK government bond yields fell, with the yield on the two-year gilt down 10 basis points and the yield on the 10-year three basis points lower.

In currency markets, the pound was off 0.5% against the safe-haven dollar at 1.2898.

Earlier, stocks in Asia fell sharply, with South Korea's Kospi down nearly 4% as the country lifted its coronavirus alert to "highest level" after seven people died from the virus, with 763 infected.

Meanwhile, around a dozen towns in Italy were on lockdown, with 150 people infected in what is the biggest outbreak outside of Asia, and five people dead.

It was a sea of red across all European indices, but Italy's FTSE Mib was the standout loser, down 4.7%.

Chris Beauchamp, chief market analyst at IG, said: "Triple digit losses across the board for the UK and Europe, and a thousand-point loss for the Italian FTSE MIB underscore the risk-off mood today, with US markets expected to follow suit later. The idea that the coronavirus has been fully contained has been firmly banished, and investors are now on notice to expect more cases and, sadly, more deaths.

"This means the economic forecasts of the impact, such as they are, will need to be revised, with a greater impact now to be expected. It is easy to get carried away, and the headlines do not make for pleasant reading, but it is important to remember that the selloff we are currently witnessing is the worst since October, for some markets, and since August for others. The VIX, meanwhile, has spiked to 19, a five-month high."

In equity markets, travel stocks took a hammering. Airlines easyJet, British Airways parent IAG and Wizz Air were all sharply lower amid worries about the impact of the coronavirus and as a Saharan sandstorm disrupted flights in and out of the Canary Islands. Travel company TUI was also weaker, along with InterContinental Hotels Group.

Miners such as Glencore, Rio Tinto and Anglo American lost ground, while luxury brand Burberry and cruise operator Carnival fell heavily.

Primark owner Associated British Foods was in the red after saying it was looking at stepping up production from Asian suppliers to mitigate any longer-term impact from the coronavirus in China where it sources a broad assortment of products.

On the upside, precious metals miners shone as gold prices rose to a seven-year high amid a flight to safety, with Polymetal, Fresnillo, Hochschild and Centamin all higher. Fresnillo was also buoyed by news that its $395m Juanicipio silver/gold joint venture in Mexico will start ahead of schedule.

Education publisher Pearson was among the few bright spots, having fallen on Friday after it warned that profit would decline in 2020.

Outsourcer Bunzl also bucked the trend as it posted a rise in annual profit and revenue and announced two acquisitions.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,148.38 -3.45%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 21,077.76 -3.23%
techMARK (TASX) 4,069.69 -2.63%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Pearson (PSON) 573.80p 2.21%
Bunzl (BNZL) 1,976.00p 1.41%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,351.00p 0.52%
British Land Company (BLND) 549.80p -1.15%
SSE (SSE) 1,662.50p -1.39%
National Grid (NG.) 1,048.40p -1.45%
Admiral Group (ADM) 2,242.00p -1.45%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 207.50p -1.52%
Severn Trent (SVT) 2,653.00p -1.52%
Rentokil Initial (RTO) 500.60p -1.53%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

easyJet (EZJ) 1,316.50p -12.73%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 777.20p -8.67%
Anglo American (AAL) 1,954.20p -8.04%
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 577.40p -7.32%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 227.80p -6.87%
Evraz (EVR) 361.60p -6.66%
Carnival (CCL) 2,814.00p -6.51%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 804.60p -6.46%
Whitbread (WTB) 4,470.00p -6.27%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 4,712.50p -6.16%

FTSE 250 - Risers

Fresnillo (FRES) 741.60p 4.13%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 203.80p 1.39%
PureTech Health (PRTC) 330.00p 1.23%
Ascential (ASCL) 357.60p 1.02%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 154.45p 0.85%
Sophos Group (SOPH) 572.80p 0.46%
NextEnergy Solar Fund Limited Red (NESF) 116.75p 0.21%
GCP Infrastructure Investments Ltd (GCP) 123.80p 0.16%
Daejan Holdings (DJAN) 8,020.00p 0.00%
Foresight Solar Fund Limited (FSFL) 115.50p 0.00%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

Kaz Minerals (KAZ) 446.90p -9.42%
Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 4,006.00p -9.10%
4Imprint Group (FOUR) 3,060.00p -8.11%
Ferrexpo (FXPO) 144.30p -7.68%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 169.35p -6.80%
SSP Group (SSPG) 623.00p -6.46%
VinaCapital Vietnam Opportunity Fund Ltd. (VOF) 292.50p -6.25%
Vietnam Enterprise Investments (DI) (VEIL) 418.50p -6.17%
Quilter (QLT) 161.40p -6.05%
Rotork (ROR) 293.70p -5.90%

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