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Markets dampened by second wave fears as shops re-open for business

The FTSE 100 fell as low as 5,952 before rebounding to 6,065, down 0.7%

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Shoppers hit the high street on Monday after months of lockdown. (Victoria Jones/PA)

Shoppers hit the high street on Monday after months of lockdown. (Victoria Jones/PA)

Shoppers hit the high street on Monday after months of lockdown. (Victoria Jones/PA)

As large parts of the British economy opened up again, increasing optimism for many, British investors felt far from happy as they worried that a second wave could hit the country.

In contrast to Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s shopping trip at a shopping centre in east London on Sunday, Monday’s markets plunged.

The FTSE 100 closed the day down 0.7%, or 40.48 points to 6,064.7, after earlier falling as low as 5,952.

Traders worried that an easing of lockdown might cause Covid-19 to start spreading around the UK and other countries.

Non-essential shops were allowed to open for the first time in nearly three months on Monday, causing some shoppers to queue outside Primark, and other stores.

“Equity markets are under pressure today on the back of health fears.

“A rise in the number of new Covid-19 cases from a few countries has sparked concerns that we could be in for a second wave of the virus,” said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.

He added: “At the back end of last week traders were already anxious about the health situation due to the number of rising cases in the US.

“Over the weekend it was announced that a partial lockdown was imposed in Beijing, while Tokyo saw a jump in infections too.”

In France, where President Emmanuel Macron declared a major lifting of lockdown on Sunday, the Cac 40 index fell by half a per cent.

In Germany the Dox dropped 0.3%.

Sterling gained 0.3% against the US dollar to 1.2554, but fell 0.1% to 1.1134 against the euro.

In company news, BP was among the losers on London’s top index after bosses revealed that the company could take a hit of up to £14 billion from a reduction in oil prices until 2050.

Shares dropped 2.2% on the news as chief executive Bernard Looney said it was a chance to continue his push towards reducing emissions.

Travis Perkins also closed the day in the red on the news that it would axe around 2,500 jobs.

The owner of Toolstation and Wickes said that it expects that the recession sparked by Covid-19 will last for two years, forcing it to close 165 stores.

Shares dropped 0.6%.

Shareholders in shipping centre owner Hammerson were lifted by the news that its chairman will quit, even as its sites opened non-essential stores for the first time in months.

David Tyler will be replaced in October at the latest.

His departure comes less than a month since chief executive David Atkins stepped down.

Shares rose 1.1%.

Shares in Metro Bank sunk by 5.3% after it confirmed talks to buy RateSetter, a peer-to-peer lender.

The bank said that nothing was certain, but it is in exclusive discussions with the firm.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Bunzl, up 185p to 2,069p, M&G, up 7.2p to 158.7p, Ashtead, up 56p to 2,417p, Hikma, up 54p to 2,359p, and Meggitt, up 6.6p to 296.6p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Fresnillo, down 46.6p to 747.6p, Barratt Developments, down 26.6p to 499.2p, easyJet, down 37.4p to 767.6p, IAG, down 10.8p to 264.7p, and Taylor Wimpey, down 5.7p to 145.8p.

PA