(Sharecast News) – London equity markets were a little weaker by midday on Monday, with travel and leisure stocks under the cosh as the prospect of tighter border restrictions and a prolonged lockdown weighed on sentiment.
The FTSE 100 was down 0.3% at 6,673.88.
Joshua Mahony, senior market analyst at IG, said: “The travel sector is being hit hard once again today, with growing fears around UK, South African, and Brazilian Covid variants expected to provide a more isolationist mentality throughout the vaccination process.
“With France expected to enact a third national lockdown in a bid to stave off the growing influence of the UK variant, it is clear that the more contagious form of the virus will increasingly take hold unless all international travel is blocked.
“From a UK perspective, the 77 known cases of the South African strain will likely grow, and traders will be well aware of the risk of another market collapse if this strain can overcome the vaccine as suggested by Matt Hancock. The decline in travel stocks not only highlight the expectations of a drawn-out period of lockdown, but also the outside chance that a new strain takes us back to square one in the vaccination effort.”
In equity markets, travel and leisure issues bore the brunt of the selling, with British Airways owner IAG, engine maker Rolls-Royce, GKN owner Melrose, Premier Inn owner Whitbread, InterContinental Hotels, budget airlines easyJet and Wizz, travel company TUI, WH Smith, Upper Crust Owner SPP, cruise operator Carnival and Cineworld all lower.
On the upside, Russian steelmaker Evraz was the top performer on the FTSE 100 after an upgrade to ‘overweight’ from ‘neutral’ at JPMorgan Cazenove, which said the outlook for global steel equities had “markedly improved”.
TI Fluid Systems was also trading higher after it said it was paying a first quarter interim dividend of 6.74 euro cents a share, but not a final payout for 2020 as it forecast adjusted EBIT margin to be “slightly better than expected”.
Outside the FTSE 350, Asos rallied after confirming it is in exclusive talks to acquire Topshop and a number of other Arcadia-owned brands out of administration.
Boohoo also gained after the fast-fashion retailer said it will buy the brand and website of failed department store chain Debenhams in a £55m deal.
FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,673.88 -0.32%
FTSE 250 (MCX) 20,523.78 -0.36%
techMARK (TASX) 4,166.99 -0.06%
FTSE 100 – Risers
Evraz (EVR) 536.80p 4.23%
Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 1,305.00p 2.03%
Fresnillo (FRES) 1,112.00p 1.92%
Bunzl (BNZL) 2,454.00p 1.91%
Ocado Group (OCDO) 2,736.00p 1.71%
Sainsbury (J) (SBRY) 250.00p 1.63%
Sage Group (SGE) 616.40p 1.55%
Rio Tinto (RIO) 5,954.00p 1.33%
Antofagasta (ANTO) 1,523.50p 1.26%
B&M European Value Retail S.A. (DI) (BME) 525.40p 1.16%
FTSE 100 – Fallers
International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 141.00p -6.99%
Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 98.38p -4.44%
Melrose Industries (MRO) 168.65p -3.88%
Compass Group (CPG) 1,342.00p -3.76%
Burberry Group (BRBY) 1,700.50p -3.35%
InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 4,606.00p -2.97%
Informa (INF) 503.60p -2.37%
Barclays (BARC) 139.92p -2.19%
British Land Company (BLND) 430.70p -2.11%
Land Securities Group (LAND) 621.20p -2.07%
FTSE 250 – Risers
Petrofac Ltd. (PFC) 107.40p 4.22%
JTC (JTC) 594.00p 3.12%
FDM Group (Holdings) (FDM) 1,024.00p 2.91%
Domino’s Pizza Group (DOM) 347.00p 2.72%
Helios Towers (HTWS) 157.40p 2.61%
Baillie Gifford US Growth Trust (USA) 358.00p 2.58%
JPMorgan Emerging Markets Inv Trust (JMG) 145.00p 2.47%
Plus500 Ltd (DI) (PLUS) 1,371.00p 2.43%
Fidelity China Special Situations (FCSS) 446.00p 2.29%
UDG Healthcare Public Limited Company (UDG) 790.50p 2.20%
FTSE 250 – Fallers
WH Smith (SMWH) 1,610.00p -6.67%
Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 4,008.00p -6.31%
easyJet (EZJ) 737.20p -5.56%
SSP Group (SSPG) 317.40p -5.03%
Network International Holdings (NETW) 349.20p -4.54%
Carnival (CCL) 1,212.50p -4.34%
National Express Group (NEX) 246.00p -3.98%
Capita (CPI) 33.75p -3.96%
Cineworld Group (CINE) 63.56p -3.84%
Energean (ENOG) 855.30p -3.65%