More steep losses

US jobs growth fails to halt freefall on stock markets.

City of London

Markets are suffering big falls

Stock markets continued to slide and offices emptied as the coronavirus spread fear among businesses and a second fatality was confirmed n the UK.

The FTSE 100 plunged 242.88 points or 3.62% to close at 6462.55, echoing big falls in other global indices.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 256.5 points, or 0.98%, the S&P 500 lost 1.71%, and the Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.87%. However, for the week, the S&P 500 gained 0.6%, the Dow added 1.8% and the Nasdaq rose 0.1%.

Earier, the Japanese market dropped to a six-month low while some companies in Europe have seen huge losses in value. All but 3% of shares on the Tokyo exchange’s main board were in the red.

Airline and travel stocks have been among the worst affected as people cancel non-essential travel. Norwegian Air Shuttle was the hardest-hit stock among European carriers, falling almost 70% since the start of February. Air France KLM, which owns the French and Dutch flag carriers, fell 14.6%.

In London,  EasyJet, Tui and British Airways owner IAG, each fell more than 4%, amid speculation that another airline could the next casualty after Flybe which collapsed yesterday.

The Canary Wharf district was unusually quiet. S&P Global’s large office stood empty after the company sent its 1,200 staff home, while HSBC asked around 100 people to work from home after a worker tested positive for the illness.

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