Stock markets around the globe tumbled today as investors faced the prospect of a second coronavirus lockdown.
London was hard hit with the FTSE 100 firmly in the red today, down 170.47 points or nearly 3% at 5836.58, as shares in Britain’s travel, pub and cinema giants tumbled.
Meanwhile the Cac in France was down 3%, as was the Dax in Germany. In Asia the Hang Seng Index in Hong Kong fell 2% and in the US all futures were deep in the red.
Investors looked like they might be in need of a drink ahead of the Government’s chief medical officer Chris Whitty giving a briefing today where he was set to warn the UK is at a “critical point” in the pandemic and facing a “very challenging winter period”.
Fears are rising in the hospitality industry that restrictions already in place in the North-East - including venues having to close between 10pm and 5am - may be brought in elsewhere. In London, Mayor Sadiq Khan has also reportedly mooted further restrictions.
The frets spilled over into financial markets where pub operators were at the sharp end of the slump. Mitchells & Butlers, behind All Bar One and Toby Carvery, fell over 11%, or 16.49p, to 124.11p. Marston’s was 13.3% lower, or 6.19p, at 40.37p, and shares in JD Wetherspoon lost 76p to 775p.
Cinema operators were also ditched, with shares in Cineworld off 4.26p to 42.27p, and Everyman Media Group down 3p to 84p.
Connor Campbell, financial analyst at Spreadex, said: “Headlines have simply reached a tipping point in the eyes of investors.”
Other fallers included IAG, another firm also exposed to travel restrictions. Shares in the British Airways owner slumped 13.65p to 96.9p.
FTSE 100 firm Rolls-Royce was also out of favour following reports the engine maker is considering tapping investors for £2.5 billion to boost its finances.
The company said it is continuing to review all funding options “to enhance balance sheet resilience and strength”. That includes the prospect of raising the equity through a variety of structures including a rights issue and potentially other forms of equity issuance.
Shares in Rolls-Royce dropped 15.25p, or more than 8%, to 164.9p.
HSBC’s Hong Kong-listed shares hit their lowest point since 1995 today, and were down 13.8p to 290.2p in London amid allegations of money-laundering in leaked secret files.
Elsewhere today shares in City broker FinnCap gained 1p to 24p after it said it expects to return to dividend payments with its interim results, expected to be released in November.