FTSE takes biggest hit of coronavirus crisis amid global panic sell-off - Sky News

FTSE takes biggest hit of coronavirus crisis amid global panic sell-off - Sky News

7 March 2020

London's FTSE-100 of top listed companies has seen its biggest fall of the coronavirus crisis to date as stock markets around the world felt the heat.

The worsening outbreak has fuelled fears of a global recession causing shares to tumble.

The UK's bluechip index experienced its largest daily percentage drop since the epidemic began.

It fell 3.6%, or 243 points, wiping £61bn off the combined value of the leading companies.

The sell-off is the biggest in percentage terms since 24 August 2015.

It came as the number of confirmed cases in the UK rose again, taking the total number to 163.

The increase comes as a second person in the UK is feared to have died from coronavirus.

Globally, the number of confirmed and suspected cases passed 100,000, according to Johns Hopkins University, which is tracking the outbreak. It says there have been more than 3,400 deaths.

Stocks tumbled into the red across Europe, with Germany's DAX sliding 3.4% and France's CAC 40 falling 4%.

Meanwhile, the US Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 500 points - a 2% fall - while other major indexes like the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also suffered declines.

Businesses involved in almost any public activity, such as cinemas, hotels, airlines and amusement parks, have lost billions in value as investors seek out safer assets like government bonds, despite the minimal return offered.

Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, said: "With no signs of the outbreak slowing down... investors remain gripped with a near unshakeable panic, the week's various central bank rate cuts only serving to reinforce the seriousness of the situation."

Coronavirus: How worried should we be?
Coronavirus: How worried should we be?

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, added that investors are worried about the possibility of a global recession caused by coronavirus.

He said: "Non-stop news headlines about the spread of coronavirus have caused investors to be very concerned about a global recession.

"This tension is likely to remain front and centre until we get some evidence that the virus can be contained."

Hotel and travel stocks were once again among the worst hit in the latest leg of the coronavirus sell-off, with Holiday Inn owner InterContinental Hotels and Premier Inn group Whitbread both seeing falls on the FTSE-100.

Tour operator Tui was 2% lower, with cruise ship giant Carnival tumbling 7% as demand for bookings slumps amid a wave of cancellations from worried holidaymakers.

Carnival's woes were compounded by news of another cruise liner, the Grand Princess, being stranded off San Francisco.

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Airlines have also been badly impacted, with the collapse of Flybe raising fears that other vulnerable players may go bust in the fallout from coronavirus.

In London, British Airways owner International Airlines Group and low-cost rival easyJet both saw shares drop.

Oil giants BP and Royal Dutch Shell were also suffered share losses - each falling more than 5% - as the cost of crude extended recent declined, with Brent down another 4% at just under $48 a barrel.

Virus Outbreak: Global Emergency - Watch a special Sky News programme on coronavirus at 6pm weekdays


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