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FTSE 100 hits six-month low on lockdown fears, vaccine uncertainty

(Reuters) - London’s FTSE 100 fell to its lowest level in six months on Wednesday as investors dumped riskier assets on fears of more lockdowns and uncertainty over a coronavirus vaccine.

FILE PHOTO: The London Stock Exchange Group offices are seen in the City of London, Britain, December 29, 2017. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

Dragged down by losses in real-estate and travel stocks, the blue-chip FTSE 100 index .FTSE was down 1.9%.

The domestically-focussed mid-cap FTSE 250 index .FTMC slid 1.5% to a more than three-week low as banks .FTNMX8350, industrials .FTNMX2720 and retailers .FTNMX5370 declined.

A media report said Prime Minister Boris Johnson was being put under pressure for a new lockdown with the government working on the assumption the second wave of the coronavirus will be more deadly than the first.

“The problem with the second wave is that although we are far better prepared than we were for the first wave, the reality is that the first wave occurred late in the traditional flu/cold/virus season,” Deutsche Bank’s Jim Reid wrote in a note.

“The second wave still hasn’t even hit November or December yet and we’re still seeing cases soar in many places.”

The market has come under pressure this week on concerns that the new restrictions across parts of England would derail a nascent economic recovery.

Meanwhile, UK Vaccine Taskforce Chair said on Tuesday the first generation of vaccines “is likely to be imperfect”, a day after a study found that antibodies against the coronavirus declined rapidly in the British population during the summer.

Brexit talks were also in focus, with a report saying European Council President Charles Michel warned that trade-negotiations were at their most difficult stage.

In company news, shares of Aston Martin AML.L rose 7.7% after it said Daimler DAIGn.DE unit Mercedes-Benz would lift its stake in the British carmaker to up to 20% by 2023.

Kaz Minerals KAZ.L jumped 9.2% after it agreed to be acquired by a consortium led by its chairman in a 3 billion pound deal.

Reporting by Devik Jain in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V and Aditya Soni

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