Global stocks stumble as coronavirus continues to cause alarm

Stock markets continued to fall. Source: https://www.pexels.com/photo/stock-exchange-board-210607/

Natural gas fizzles and British Land Company plummets a quarter

LONDON (City Blog) – Rising Covid-19 cases and tougher lockdown restrictions in many parts of the world prompted the third day of falling share prices in major markets.

The FTSE 100 closed down almost 1 per cent following weakness during the day after dips overnight in Asia and on Wall Street.  The index was down 58 points to 6,334.35. The FTSE 250, a barometer for Brexit sentiment, also fell almost 1 per cent.

London’s stock market is shrinking faster than its European rivals as traders increasingly expect increased EU enthusiasm for a no-deal Brexit. Coupled with Rishi Sunak’s plans to reveal a “scary” outlook for the UK economy next week, retail investors are expecting a difficult Christmas.

Market weakness comes after earlier gains driven by positive news about Covid-19 vaccines.

Other factors include the fallout from the US election earlier this month. The natural gas market fell following a steady downward trend in US fossil fuel prices since the result. A Biden administration is expected to totally decarbonise the natural gas sector by 2035.

News of Japan’s record number of Covid cases sent the Nikkei lower. The Hang Seng had also gone down by 0.71 per cent by Thursday evening. 

In company news, British Land Company fell by almost a quarter today, 24 per cent, after the company announced that it is expecting to lease less office space as customers defer contracts amid virus and Brexit uncertainty. Chief executive Chris Grigg said: “Despite the unprecedented situation brought about by Covid, our business is more financially resilient.” The recent fall in stock price suggests investors fear otherwise.

Sonos stocks surged up by 21.62%, as renewed lockdowns have led to an increase in customers buying electronic goods. 

Naked Wines Plc has reported a near 80 per cent jump in its first-half revenue. While stocks were down -0.60 in the morning, this U-turned to +0.6 per cent as the US markets opened this afternoon. Annual sales have rocketed upwards due to a boost in lockdown wine sales and deliveries.

Morrisons supermarket shares have begun to recover (up 3.35 per cent to 184.30) after the supermarket revealed a recent dent in profits. Despite an 8.7 per cent growth in like-for-like sales in the first half of 2020, pre-tax profit fell over 25 per cent to £148m due to costs related to Covid safety and social distancing measures. Chief Executive David Potts said he believes “we are seeing the renaissance of British supermarkets”.

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