Corporate fears in the city of London, the UK’s financial hub, that a re-energised rise in coronavirus cases will damage economic prospects have wiped more than £50 billion off UK shares, and caused similar falls across European and US stock markets.
London’s FTSE 100 share index closed down 3.4%, with airlines, travel firms, hotel groups and pubs particularly badly hit in anticipation of ramped up government restrictions, reports the BBC. The worst hit was British Airways owner IAG, down 12%.
Markets in Paris, Frankfurt and Madrid also dived on reports of Covid-19 troubles increasing. Major economies could see second lockdowns as they struggle to regain control of the virus.
HSBC, the bank at the centre of a major money-laundering scandal, saw its share price fall 5.3% in London. The revelations of HSBC’s “negligent” behaviour dragged down other big banks whose shares dropped by similar amounts.
The effects of the losses could be further-reaching than people expect as millions of UK and European pension holders may find their income negatively affected by the poor performance of funds in which their pensions are invested.