| 6.5°C Belfast

Plunge in stocks with FTSE at lowest level since November 2011

Close

Travel and leisure firms bore the brunt of the decline yesterday (stock photo)

Travel and leisure firms bore the brunt of the decline yesterday (stock photo)

PA

Travel and leisure firms bore the brunt of the decline yesterday (stock photo)

The FTSE 100 dived to its lowest level since November 2011 after coronavirus fears drove another major sell-off, although the UK markets recovered some losses later in the session.

London's top flight closed 215.03 points lower at 5,151.08 at the end of trading yesterday.

However, markets had closed by the time the Prime Minister announced that people should avoid confined spaces including pubs and restaurants. The announcement is expected to rock markets today.

Travel and leisure firms bore the brunt of the decline, but the index made a slight recovery during the afternoon to reduce it losses, despite a frantic start to trading on Wall Street.

Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, said: "Though the Dow Jones opened sharply lower, in a rare sight the European indices didn't double down on their own losses, instead cutting the morning session's slump in half.

"Finding a smidge more confidence that was seen at that start of the day, the FTSE managed to claw its way back to 5,150 - no small feat given that at one point it was trading under 4,850 for the first time in eight-and-a-half years."

The Dow Jones slipped 6% after the markets opened, as traders were shaken by the Federal Reserve's move to slash interest rates to zero.

The major European markets all made recoveries after Wall Street opened, but remained heavily down for the day, as the spread of the virus continues to weigh on the global economy.

The German Dax decreased by 5.31%, while the French Cac moved 5.75% lower.

Meanwhile, sterling fell against the dollar and euro as the health crisis continues to hold back progress over Brexit negotiations.

The value of the pound fell 1.38% versus the US dollar at 1.224 and was down 1.12% against the euro at 1.097.

In company news, Travelex owner Finablr had its shares suspended and said it could go bust after discovering $100m (£81m) of undisclosed cheques.

The FTSE 250 said its chief executive Promoth Manghat has also resigned, as the company is "unable to accurately assess" its financial position.

Shares in Halfords plummeted after the retailer announced plans to close its Cycle Republic chain of stores, putting 226 jobs at risk.

The retailer said it will shut all 22 outlets and its performance centre site in Evesham as it looks to focus on its online cycling business, Tredz. Shares fell 19.65p to 83.35p.

Primark owner Associated British Foods closed lower on a busy session which saw its shares suspended briefly after an anomalous trade was reported.

It came as the retail and grocery group reported that first half profits were ahead of forecasts, but it will still face significant outbreak-related headwinds.

Belfast Telegraph