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London stocks slide as quarantine rules hit easyJet, British Airways

Reuters | Updated: 14-08-2020 13:42 IST | Created: 14-08-2020 13:42 IST
London stocks slide as quarantine rules hit easyJet, British Airways

London-listed shares fell on Friday as easyJet and British Airways tumbled after the UK imposed fresh quarantine measures on travellers from France and other countries, taking the shine off a strong week of stock market gains.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 fell 1.5% and the mid-cap FTSE 250 lost 1.2%, with travel-related stocks leading declines as France warned that it would reciprocate. "All the travel stocks are getting a bit of a pounding today on the back of those tightening of quarantine rules," said Michael Hewson, market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

"Investors are also taking money off the table simply because you've got equity markets near their recent range highs, and heading into the weekend, it's probably a good idea to take a little bit of risk off the table." Rising infections, stalling macroeconomic activity and worries over Sino-U.S. relations have held back global equity benchmarks from fully recovering their coronavirus-driven losses, with the MSCI world index hovering at about 2% below its record high set just before the onset of the health crisis.

Data on Friday showed China's retail sales unexpectedly slipped in July, while the factory sector's recovery struggled to pick up pace. All eyes later in the day will be on whether U.S. retail sales figures will be strong enough to push the S&P 500 to an all-time high. In the UK, the FTSE 100 is set for a second straight weekly gain as growing evidence of the pandemic's economic and corporate damage brews optimism around more monetary stimulus.

Citigroup analysts said on Friday they expected dividends issued by UK firms to drop 50% this year, although miners could outperform if commodity prices showed resilience in the second half. Banks, energy and aero-related stocks pulled back after leading gains all week, while housebuilders, life insurers and financial firms were among the smallest decliners on the day.


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