FTSE 100 opens up (a bit)
Ding ding! The London stock market has opened a little higher, as traders try to recover from Wednesday’s rout.
The FTSE 100 has gained 9 points in early trading, up nearly 0.2% to 5592. That’s a very small recovery on yesterday’s 146-point tumble.
Energy giant Royal Dutch Shell is calming nerves. It shares are up 4% after posting stronger-than-expected results, and lifting its dividend. Although profits shrank 80% to $955m, that was well ahead of forecast of around $146m.
Telecoms firm BT is also rallying, up 7% after slightly increasing its profit forecasts (profits so far this year are down 20%, partly due to lower income from BT Sport because so many fixtures were postponed or cancelled).
But lockdown angst is also weighing on stocks, with bank Standard Chartered down 4%, jet engine maker Rolls-Royce down 2%, and hotel chain Whitbread losing 1.8%.
Oil is coming under more pressure this morning, with Brent crude currently down 0.5% at $38.93 per barrel.
It started 2020 at over $65 per barrel, before the pandemic hurt demand for air travel and fuel.
Asia-Pacific markets have had a jittery day.
Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 tumbled by 1.6%, as the surge in Covid-19 cases worldwide fuelled fear over the global recovery.
Energy companies led the selloff, following the 5% fall in crude oil prices on Wednesday. Mining stocks and industrial companies were also hit, on concerns that the new lockdowns in Europe will dent growth.
South Korea’s KOSPI lost 1%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.5%, but China’s CSI 300 rallied as its economic recovery continues.
Introduction: Markets on edge as winter lockdowns loom
Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
After a brutal day’s trading yesterday, global stock markets are on edge as the escalating Covid-19 pandemic fuels fears of a double-dip downturn.
France’s second national lockdown, and the new restrictions looming in Germany, have jolted investors out of any complacency about the virus.
European stock markets slumped to a five-month low last night, with Germany’s DAX plunging by over 4% and France’s CAC shedding 3.3% in a panicky selloff.
Britain’s FTSE 100 slumping by 2.5% to its lowest point since April, while the oil price – a solid gauge of economic prospects – tumbled 5%.