FTSE 100 opened sharply lower as Britain found itself in near isolation due to concern over the new strain of coronavirus in southern England. The blue-chip index dropped 67 to 6,462.
Ports have been closed because of the new outbreak with lorries ‘stacked’ up on the road to Dover due to a ban on freight by France. Flights and trains to many parts of Europe have been halted with the UK cabinet committee Cobra holding an emergency meeting about the situation.
Shares in British Airways owner IAG tumbled by almost 18%. Retailers reacted with dismay to the new clampdown imposed yesterday in the south-east due to the spike in infections. Mike Ashley’s Frasers Group, which owns Sports Direct, withdrew profits guidance as most of its shops in the region were now shut it said.
Elsewhere, Shell said it will write down the value of oil and gas assets by a further U$3.5bn to US$4.5bn due to the uncertain backdrop. The Anglo-Dutch oil giant took a US$16.8bn write-down earlier this year.
Among the small caps, Novacyt (LON:NCYT) confirmed its tests can detect the new COVID-19 strain found in the UK. The level of accuracy remains the same, according to a computer simulation.
Symphony Environmental Technologies PLC (LON:SYM) is starting legal action against the EU in relation to new rules to ban a certain type of plastic. The biodegradable plastic specialist deems the regulation confusing and illegal.
Guild Esports PLC (LON:GILD) has signed Henrik Mclean, a top-ranked professional esports player, to its Fortnite team. 15-year-old Mclean will also play in other games such as Valorant, Rocket League and FIFA.