(Reuters) - UK stocks slipped for the fourth straight day on Thursday, with the FTSE 100 index marking its longest losing streak in three months, hurt by fears of a new wave of COVID-19 infections in the United States and a bleak economic outlook by the Federal Reserve.
Total cases of the novel coronavirus in the United States surpassed 2 million on Wednesday, while an expert said the country may see 200,000 deaths at some point in September.
Furthering worries was the Fed’s projection of a 6.5% contraction in the U.S. economy in 2020, while signalling plans of years of extraordinary support for an economy facing a long road back from the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The pessimistic outlook from the Fed was not unexpected, but right now investors are looking at potential declines further because markets are spooked by the possibility of a second wave of coronavirus infections,” said Joshua Mahoney, markets analyst at IG Group.
British stocks are now set for their first weekly fall in four, with hopes of a quicker economic revival fizzling out as preexisting worries of the COVID-19 pandemic hammer risk appetite.
“In the UK, we have gone from a position from market optimism to a position where clearly, we are not going to see that kind of drive anymore,” Mahoney said.
Unilever (UNA.AS) (ULVR.L) proposed to ditch its dual Anglo-Dutch legal structure and create a single company in Britain to give it more flexibility for mergers and acquisitions. UK-listed shares (ULVR.L) of the company fell 1%.
Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; editing by Uttaresh.V and Angus MacSwan