London midday: Stocks down but off lows as Covid concerns continue to weigh
London stocks were off lows but still a little weaker by midday on Monday amid doubts over US stimulus and ongoing concerns about the Covid-19 pandemic and increasing restrictions.
The FTSE 100 was down 0.2% at 5,848.96.
Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said: "At the start of the final week of October, and the last week before the US election, the markets couldn’t shake their Covid-19 blues.
"Restrictions are continuing to tighten around the world, especially in Europe, where Spain just entered a state of emergency, and Italy has introduced its most severe measures since the end of its national lockdown in May. And the pace of the virus is showing no signs of slowing down, with a new record number of daily cases in the US, and confirmation of 137 local cases in China.
"Monday’s lack of optimism extends to the US stimulus talks, with an agreement still not in place and the Republicans and Democrats both pointing fingers. Time is fast running out, if it hasn’t already - why would either side want to get a deal done, especially blue wave-praying Democrats, when the country’s political landscape could’ve completely shifted in a week and a half’s time?
"On a less familiar note, a ‘permanent’ ceasefire between warring factions in Libya has sent oil lower, after speculation that production of the black stuff will start to ramp up in the country once more."
In currency markets, the pound was up 0.1% against the dollar at 1.3055 as news that the EU’s chief Brexit negotiator, Michel Barnier, will stay on in London until Wednesday sparked hopes of a deal.
In equity markets, stocks with exposure to the coronavirus pandemic and restrictions took a hit, with InterContinental Hotels, Premier Inn owner Whitbread, engine maker Rolls-Royce, travel company TUI and Cineworld all under the cosh.
Oil giant Shell was also trading lower as oil prices fell, while software company Sage was under pressure after German peer SAP slashed its full-year revenue guidance.
Insurer Beazley lost ground after a downgrade to ‘equalweight’ from ‘overweight’ at Morgan Stanley.
On the upside, AstraZeneca was a little higher as it emerged that its Covid-19 vaccine had produced an immune response in the young and elderly.
Education publisher Pearson was boosted by an upgrade to ‘buy’ from ‘neutral’ at UBS, while Synthomer was also in the black after an upgrade to ‘overweight’ from ‘neutral’ at JPMorgan.
FTSE 100 - Risers
Pearson (PSON) 532.40p 3.90%
BT Group (BT.A) 108.00p 3.30%
British Land Company (BLND) 390.70p 2.76%
Aviva (AV.) 283.90p 2.09%
Barclays (BARC) 113.86p 2.08%
SSE (SSE) 1,352.50p 1.16%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 561.50p 1.13%
Legal & General Group (LGEN) 199.60p 1.11%
HSBC Holdings (HSBA) 324.75p 1.04%
AstraZeneca (AZN) 8,022.00p 0.99%
FTSE 100 - Fallers
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,425.00p -4.23%
Sage Group (SGE) 670.60p -3.37%
Kingfisher (KGF) 312.60p -2.34%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 4,114.00p -2.07%
Rightmove (RMV) 659.00p -1.93%
Whitbread (WTB) 2,340.00p -1.93%
Smurfit Kappa Group (SKG) 3,064.00p -1.92%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 4,508.00p -1.53%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 240.10p -1.48%
Intertek Group (ITRK) 5,908.00p -1.47%
FTSE 250 - Risers
Provident Financial (PFG) 239.60p 5.00%
AO World (AO.) 378.00p 4.13%
Aston Martin Lagonda Global Holdings (AML) 51.70p 3.40%
Greggs (GRG) 1,414.00p 3.29%
Frasers Group (FRAS) 386.80p 3.15%
Mitchells & Butlers (MAB) 163.80p 3.02%
Ibstock (IBST) 184.50p 2.96%
Virgin Money UK (VMUK) 95.84p 2.68%
Capita (CPI) 25.48p 2.54%
Energean (ENOG) 563.40p 2.44%
FTSE 250 - Fallers
TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 303.80p -5.92%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 28.24p -3.22%
Playtech (PTEC) 354.80p -3.14%
Network International Holdings (NETW) 232.60p -3.08%
Computacenter (CCC) 2,336.00p -2.99%
Beazley (BEZ) 317.80p -2.75%
Sirius Real Estate Ltd. (SRE) 76.10p -2.69%
Petropavlovsk (POG) 26.75p -2.55%
Hochschild Mining (HOC) 231.00p -2.53%
Trainline (TRN) 283.20p -2.34%