London’s equity markets were still a sea of red by midday on Friday, with travel shares under the cosh as investors were spooked by a new Covid variant found in South Africa.
The FTSE 100 was down 2.7% at 7,114.82.
IG market analyst Chris Beauchamp said: “European markets have seen most of the gains made in the course of October and November evaporate overnight as investors around the globe react to the new Covid variant that has appeared in South Africa. Early reports suggest it spreads quickly and could be much more resistance to existing vaccines.
“While the situation appears confined to the region for now, markets are scrambling to price in a return of restrictions across the globe, taking their cue from the UK’s travel restrictions and the tighter restrictions imposed in Portugal. This process is always a noisy and difficult one, and has been exacerbated by the lack of liquidity that is always a feature of markets around Thanksgiving.
“Already some pockets of strength (or less weakness perhaps) have emerged, with Nasdaq futures holding up better than the rest as investors there hold their nerve, but perhaps some of the early moves today will be reversed if a more optimistic tone prevails into this afternoon and next week.”
Travel-related shares took the biggest hit, with British Airways owner IAG, Premier Inn owner Whitbread, InterContinental Hotels, Tui, Wizz Air, Carnival ,easyJet, WH Smith and SSP all lower. Engine maker Rolls-Royce and GKN owner Melrose also fell sharply.
Leisure and hospitality stocks were also on the back foot, with Cineworld, Mitchells & Butlers and Restaurant Group all down, while oil giants BP and Shell gushed lower as oil prices slid.
On the upside, online supermarket Ocado – which has benefited from lockdowns and restrictions – was the standout gainer on the FTSE 100.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 7,114.82 -2.67%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 22,781.00 -2.14%
techMARK (TASX) 4,404.50 -1.39%
FTSE 100 – Risers
Ocado Group (OCDO) 1,797.00p 2.74%
Croda International (CRDA) 10,050.00p 2.55%
Polymetal International (POLY) 1,385.50p 1.58%
Fresnillo (FRES) 922.20p 1.14%
Halma (HLMA) 2,995.00p 0.98%
Bunzl (BNZL) 2,839.00p 0.89%
B&M European Value Retail S.A. (DI) (BME) 622.80p 0.58%
SEGRO (SGRO) 1,405.50p 0.39%
Royal Mail (RMG) 509.20p 0.32%
United Utilities Group (UU.) 1,089.50p 0.23%
FTSE 100 – Fallers
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 135.92p -11.92%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 123.32p -10.34%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 148.20p -7.84%
Informa (INF) 475.10p -7.21%
BP (BP.) 323.55p -6.15%
Standard Chartered (STAN) 424.80p -5.96%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 4,742.00p -5.95%
Anglo American (AAL) 2,681.50p -5.76%
Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 46.85p -5.70%
Whitbread (WTB) 2,933.00p -5.63%
FTSE 250 – Risers
Games Workshop Group (GAW) 9,125.00p 1.67%
Plus500 Ltd (DI) (PLUS) 1,287.50p 1.34%
AO World (AO.) 110.20p 1.19%
IG Group Holdings (IGG) 769.50p 0.98%
Oxford Biomedica (OXB) 1,378.00p 0.88%
Bytes Technology Group (BYIT) 552.00p 0.82%
Domino’s Pizza Group (DOM) 368.20p 0.82%
Centamin (DI) (CEY) 95.40p 0.76%
Telecom Plus (TEP) 1,460.00p 0.69%
Endeavour Mining (EDV) 1,800.00p 0.56%
FTSE 250 – Fallers
Carnival (CCL) 1,219.80p -13.42%
SSP Group (SSPG) 224.60p -12.33%
easyJet (EZJ) 503.20p -10.84%
WH Smith (SMWH) 1,364.50p -10.82%
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 200.30p -9.69%
Greencore Group (CDI) (GNC) 122.80p -9.24%
Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 4,023.00p -8.55%
Ninety One (N91) 246.80p -7.70%
Capita (CPI) 45.12p -7.52%
Investec (INVP) 360.50p -7.23%