Coronavirus: FTSE 100 opens down after Asian productivity dries up

FTSE 100 opens 4% down by 227 to 5,445 points after Asian productivity dries up and UK suffered its worst day for deaths since outbreak began

  • FTSE 100 index of Britain’s largest companies drops 227 points or 4% to 5,445
  • It follows two straight days of rises for index – and a 6 per cent gain last week
  • Frankfurt’s DAX slid 3% to 9,637 and the Paris CAC 40 sheds 3.1% to 4,262 today
  • Factory activity falls across most of Asia as outbreak paralyses supply chains

London stock market fell 4 per cent this morning as dismal economic data from Asia stoked fears of coronavirus causing a deep global recession.

The FTSE 100 index of Britain’s largest companies dropped 227 points to 5,445 within the first half-hour of trading today following two straight days of rises – and a 6 per cent gain last week.

In the eurozone, Frankfurt’s DAX slid 3 per cent to 9,637 points and the Paris CAC 40 shed 3.1 per cent to 4,262. 

The falls today came after figures released overnight showed factory activity falling across most of Asia in March as the outbreak paralysed supply chains.

There were sharp drops in export power-houses Japan and South Korea overshadowing a modest improvement in China.

Investors were also concerned about the number of deaths from coronavirus in Britain rising by 27 per cent in a day, to a new total of 1,789. 

And financial companies slumped by up to 8 per cent today as a number of UK banks joined European peers in suspending dividend payments to shore up liquidity. 

TODAY: The FTSE fell 227 points or 4 per cent to 5,445 within today’s first half-hour of trading

YESTERDAY:  The FTSE 100 had closed up nearly 2 per cent yesterday as markets reacted to oil prices steadying and Chinese factory data raising hopes of a revival in economic activity

LAST WEEK: The FTSE 100 index finished at 5,510 last Friday, rising 6 per cent overall last week

Robert Carnell, ING’s head of Asia-Pacific research, said most the prospect for most manufacturing sectors going into the second quarter is for ‘even more weakness’.

In the US yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 400 points, or 1.9 per cent, to seal the worst first-quarter finish of its 135-year history. 

It follows a stocks rebound in Europe and elsewhere earlier this week that was powered by aggressive fiscal and monetary stimulus from around the world.

The FTSE had closed up nearly 2 per cent yesterday as markets reacted to oil prices steadying and Chinese factory data raising hopes of a revival in economic activity. 

The pan-European STOXX 600 index ended yesterday with its worst quarter in 18 years, losing about £2.3trillion in market value.

People wearing face masks walk past a bank’s electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index at Hong Kong Stock Exchange Wednesday today

Investors are selling as lockdown measures to contain the health crisis upend business activity, raising the threat of corporate defaults and mass layoffs.

With the outbreak still far from contained globally, US President Donald Trump warned Americans of a ‘painful’ two weeks ahead.

It comes amid signs the US death toll could stretch into the hundreds of thousands even with social distancing measures.

Britain’s stock market has suffered its worst run for more than three decades as the coronavirus crisis sends shares tumbling.

That was the biggest quarterly percentage fall since the final three months of 1987 and the biggest quarterly points fall on record.

The news comes as a record-breaking 381 coronavirus deaths and 3,009 cases were declared in the UK yesterday, on what was Britain’s darkest day so far in the ever-worsening crisis

The rout has wiped £470billion off the value of Britain’s blue-chip companies – leaving savers with pensions and other investments nursing heavy losses.

Most of the losses – some 23.4 per cent – have come in little over five weeks as the spread of Covid-19 around the world accelerated.

The sell-off has been the worst since the Black Monday stock market crash of October 1987 when the FTSE 100 fell 23 per cent in two days. 

Although the market has fallen significantly in recent weeks, the FTSE 100 has risen 13.6 per cent since crashing to a nine-year low below the 5,000 mark last week.

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