London close: Stocks finish weaker amid further Covid jitters
London stocks closed in negative territory on Monday amid reports that Covid-19 restrictions in England were set to get even tougher.
The FTSE 100 ended the session down 1.09% at 6,798.48, and the FTSE 250 was 1.37% weaker at 20,776.13.
Sterling was in a mixed state, last trading 0.52% weaker against the dollar to $1.3497, while it gained 0.05% on the euro to €1.1099.
Investors were digesting reports over the weekend that the government was considering tightening restrictions even further, with masks in certain outdoor settings, curfews and even a ban on people leaving the house more than once a week said to have been discussed.
“Equity markets are set to finish in the red as renewed health concerns have encouraged dealers to book profits,” said CMC Markets analyst David Madden.
“Last week, stock markets enjoyed very bullish moves on the back of the belief that Joe Biden’s administration will reveal new stimulus.”
Madden noted that the FTSE 100 was sent to a 10-month high, while the DAX registered a new record high.
“Relatively mild worries about Covid-19 cases are weighing on the mood today.
“The scale of the losses in stocks suggests that traders would prefer to take some money out of the markets as opposed to panic selling.
“On the FTSE 100, mining stocks like Rio Tinto, BHP Group and Anglo American are some of the largest fallers in terms of index points.”
David Madden pointed out that housebuilders, oil, hospitality, travel and transport stocks were in the red as well.
In equity markets, Smith & Nephew fell 2.37% after the medical technology company said it expects to report a 7% decline in fourth-quarter underlying revenue and a 12% drop in full-year revenues, as more medical procedures are postponed due to rising numbers of coronavirus infections.
British Land lost 2.82% after saying that on 7 January, it had collected 71% of rent due for payment in the December quarter comprising 99% of office rents and 46% of retail rents.
Ladbrokes owner Entain declined 2.51% after its chief executive quit, with the company a takeover target for MGM Resorts International.
Travel and leisure stocks also took a hit amid the prospect of tighter restrictions, with TUI down 7.74%, Cineworld iff 6.26% and Mitchells & Butlers 2.26% lower.
On the upside, budget airline easyJet reversed earlier losses to ascend 2.09%, after it strengthened its balance sheet by signing a new five-year $1.87bn (£1.4bn) term loan facility to help it deal with the continuing impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
JD Sports Fashion rallied 3.81% after saying it was confident headline pre-tax profit for the year to 30 January 2021 would be "significantly" ahead of current market expectations of around £295m as demand has remained robust throughout the second half.
Signature Aviation surged 7.27% after Gatwick Airport co-owner Global Infrastructure Partners swooped to buy the company for $4.63bn (£3.43bn), beating a rival offer from private equity outfit Blackstone Group and Microsoft founder Bill Gates.
Chemring was boosted 0.84% by an upgrade to ‘buy’ at Peel Hunt.
FTSE 100 - Risers
JD Sports Fashion (JD.) 882.80p 3.76%
Pershing Square Holdings Ltd NPV (PSH) 2,725.00p 1.68%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 7,556.00p 1.14%
B&M European Value Retail S.A. (DI) (BME) 549.80p 0.95%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 2,500.00p 0.77%
Just Eat Takeaway.Com N.V. (CDI) (JET) 9,038.00p 0.51%
Admiral Group (ADM) 2,975.00p 0.37%
Morrison (Wm) Supermarkets (MRW) 183.25p 0.36%
Smith (DS) (SMDS) 404.90p 0.30%
London Stock Exchange Group (LSE) 9,226.00p 0.22%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Compass Group (CPG) 1,410.00p -4.31%
Informa (INF) 545.40p -3.67%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 658.10p -3.66%
Coca-Cola HBC AG (CDI) (CCH) 2,350.00p -3.33%
Avast (AVST) 531.00p -3.19%
Ferguson (FERG) 9,166.00p -3.09%
British Land Company (BLND) 452.00p -2.82%
Smith & Nephew (SN.) 1,574.50p -2.78%
Diageo (DGE) 2,956.50p -2.68%
Barratt Developments (BDEV) 701.00p -2.64%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Signature Aviation (SIG) 435.50p 7.27%
Network International Holdings (NETW) 346.60p 4.21%
Spirent Communications (SPT) 265.00p 2.12%
Premier Foods (PFD) 108.60p 1.88%
Ultra Electronics Holdings (ULE) 2,062.00p 1.78%
Kaz Minerals (KAZ) 719.00p 1.75%
Helios Towers (HTWS) 154.80p 1.57%
GCP Infrastructure Investments Ltd (GCP) 109.60p 1.29%
AJ Bell (AJB) 437.50p 1.04%
Vietnam Enterprise Investments (DI) (VEIL) 585.00p 1.04%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 354.50p -7.74%
Micro Focus International (MCRO) 397.00p -6.85%
Hammerson (HMSO) 22.36p -6.83%
Trainline (TRN) 412.80p -6.52%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 65.00p -6.26%
TI Fluid Systems (TIFS) 227.25p -5.27%
National Express Group (NEX) 250.80p -5.00%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 1,699.00p -4.85%
Essentra (ESNT) 315.00p -4.83%
TP ICAP (TCAP) 227.80p -4.21%