Oil price falls hit several big names in the sector and warnings from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that the world could see a depression not seen since the 1930s. In Europe, the Paris CAC 40 ended down 3.7 percent, while the DAX 30 in Frankfurt ended down 4.2 percent.
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David Madden, market analyst at CMC Markets UK, said: “Equity markets in Europe are firmly in the red as the warning from the IMF yesterday has finally sunk in.
“The group anticipates the world economy could contract by 3 percent this year.
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FTSE 100 LIVE: The IMF warned of devastating global economic damage (Image: GETTY)
“The update was in stark contrast to the forecast it issued three months ago, when it projected worldwide growth of 3.3 percent.
“Much of the ground that European equities have made since mid-March was fuelled by rescue schemes, and more recently, the levelling-off of the rate of infections, but traders are facing up the prospect of a painful economic downturn.”
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FTSE 100: European shares have plummeted (Image: GETTY )
5pm update: Ftse 100 closes down at 5,597.65
The Ftse 100 index has closed down 193.99 points (3.34 percent) at 5,597.65.
4.12pm update: Older savers checking investment performance in midst of coronavirus crisis
More than half of savers approaching retirement age have checked the performance of their investments in recent weeks, a survey has found.
Pension provider Aegon surveyed more than 1,100 people towards the end of March to find out how investors are behaving as a result of coronavirus and market volatility.
It found that 53 percent of 55 to 64-year-olds had checked their investments in the past four weeks compared with 33 percent of 18 to 34-year-olds.
Steven Cameron, pensions director at Aegon, said: “In these exceptional times, with volatile markets, there’s a risk that people, particularly those without an adviser, may panic and react to market movements by rushing into financial decisions that could have long-term adverse consequences.
“After the significant falls in stock markets, it can often be in individuals’ interest to avoid cashing in stock market investments and look to draw money from other sources of savings.
“It can also make sense if possible to take less income or only what you really need right now. It’s always good to seek advice, and especially so in the current climate before taking any big decisions.”
3.45pm update: FTSE down at 5620.54
The FTSE-100 index is down 170.77 at 5620.54.
3.44pm update: Citigroup sees first quarter profits halved
US banking giant Citigroup saw its first quarter profit nearly halve as it put by £5.6 billion in loan losses to prepare for a torrent of borrower loan defaults as the coronavirus crisis wreaks havoc on the global economy.
The group reported a 46 percent plunge in profit to £2.02 billion in the first three months of the year after the loan losses charge.
But revenues lifted 12 percent thanks to a strong performance in its investment banking arm, which benefited from the volatility in financial markets.
3.33pm update: Connect Group sells Tuffnells in £15m deal
Smiths News owner Connect Group has agreed to sell logistics business Tuffnells as part of a £15 million deal.
It has signed an agreement with Palm Bidco, which is backed by investors brought together by specialist restructuring advisory firm Broad Oak Support Services.
Tuffnells operates from a network of 36 depots and a head office in Sheffield, serving around 4,000 businesses.
It reported underlying losses of £14.1 million in the year to August 31 last year.
Connect has also agreed to provide a loan facility up to £10.5 million to Tuffnells after the sale to support its turnaround and due to the difficulties of securing external debt financing amid the coronavirus crisis.
3.15pm update: Pound falls against dollar after dire IMF forecasts
The pound has fallen back from one-month highs against the dollar and euro as investors realised it was too early to be optimistic about a recovery from the coronavirus crisis.
Sterling’s 1.3 percent fall against the dollar was driven by a dire global economic forecast from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
The IMF warned the global economy is expected to shrink by 3.0 percent this year in a coronavirus-driven collapse of activity that will mark the steepest downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.
Thu Lan Nguyen, senior FX strategist at Commerzbank, said: “The dollar is stronger on a very broad basis and that indicates that markets remain quite nervous.
“The IMF served as a reminder that it could be a lot worse than what we’ve seen in recent decades and I think the market is still grappling with the extent of this crisis economically.
“It wasn’t sustainable, this moderate cautious optimism that we’ve seen recently.
“I think the market’s coming to the realisation that it’s just too early for a sustainable rally.”
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2.22pm update: Wall Street to slump amid gloomy economic data
Wall Street’s main indexes were set to slide at the open on Wednesday, as a record drop in retail sales and dour first-quarter earnings reports lent credence to forecasts for the biggest economic slump since the 1930s.
US retail sales plunged 8.7 percent in March, setting up consumer spending for its worst decline in decades, while a separate survey showed manufacturing activity in New York state plunged in April to its lowest in the series’ history.
1.47pm update: FTSE update
The FTSE 100 index at 1.45pm was down 153.15 at 5638.16.
1.32pm update: Whetherspoons shares dive
Pub operators Mitchells & Butlers and J D Wetherspoon, who have forecast a severe hit to earnings as pubs and restaurants in the UK remain shut, slid more than 10 percent.
12.28pm update: UK schools under pressure to reopen over economic chaos
UK schools could reopen next month as pressure builds on Boris Johnson’s government to reduce the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
Ministers are calling for primary school pupils to return to the classroom on May 11 after they were forced to close their doors on March 23 to stop the spread of coronavirus.
The UK government is under pressure after it emerged Britain’s economy could contract by 35 percent as the coronavirus lockdown takes its toll on the nation’s purse.
A minister told the Daily Telegraph: “We have got to make sure this economic downturn is V-shaped and not L-shaped.
“We should be beginning to release the things that can be released – so primary schools should re-open and so should non-essential shops.”
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FTSE 100: Global economies are suffering amid the coronavirus pandemic (Image: GETTY )
12.47pm update: FTSE 100 down
The FTSE-100 index at 12.45pm was down 132.81 at 5658.50.
12.01pm update: EU budget to focus on economic recovery of bloc
The heads of the bloc’s Brussels-based institutions said the EU’s next long-term budget will raise funds to sponsor economic recovery after the coronavirus pandemic.
Charles Michel, president of the European Council made up of the bloc’s 27 national heads of state, said leaders and governments will discuss a reworking of plans for the 2021-27 EU joint budget during a videoconference summit on April 23.
Ursula von der Leyen, European Commission President, said: “The next European budget has to be the European answer to the corona crisis.
“A European budget that with all its might is able to leverage the necessary money for a huge investment initiative … in order to really restart the economic process.
11.46am update: London Stock Exchange update
The FTSE 100 index at 11.45am was down 133.69 at 5657.62.
Coronavirus has sparked panic across the world (Image: GETTY )
11.30am update: Eurozone on brink of crisis
The eurozone is teetering on the edge of another economic crisis with Italy and Greece at the centre of the storm, an economist has warned as coronavirus continues to grip the continent.
Simon Baptist, global chief economist at consultancy The Economist Intelligence Unit, predicted the bloc’s third-largest economy Italy and Greece, which recently clawed itself back from financial ruin, would be a the centre of it.
He told CNBC: “I do think we will see some issues there, possibly we could see a euro zone crisis come back with countries like Greece or Italy likely to be at the centre of that.”
10.49am update: UK could be last country to come out lockdown
Roger Jones, head of equities at London & Capital, said: “A lot of the domestic weakness is around concerns over the UK economy being locked down for longer.
“The UK previously looked like one of the first countries to come out of the lockdown situation in Europe, and they now look to be potentially one of the last countries.”
9.47am update: FTSE 100 update
The FTSE 100 index at 9.45am was down 102.50 at 5688.81.
9.25am update: London Stock Exchange update
The FTSE 100 index at 9.15am was down 89.27 at 5702.04.
The global death toll stats of the coronavirus (Image: EXPRESS)
9.20am update: EU shares slip
Declines for Total SA, Royal Dutch Shell Plc and BP Plc sent the European energy index to its lowest this month as dire forecasts of the worst economic slump since the Great Depression hit oil prices.
Shares in Royal Dutch Shell and BP fell about 5 percent.
ASML Holding NV, a key European supplier to chipmakers such as Samsung and Intel, fell 2.4 percent after reporting worse-than-expected earnings on Wednesday.
Dutch navigation and digital mapping company TomTom shed 5.3 percent after saying it expected negative free cash flow this year and lower revenue from its automotive and consumer businesses.
Han Tan, market analyst at FXTM said: “With the market outlook still mired in tremendous uncertainty, gains in equities remain far from a one-way bet.
“Lingering fears over the coronavirus could well put a lid on consumption and alter spending habits, while leaving corporate earnings stunted for an extended period.”
8.38am update: UK shares hurt by coronavirus
Asset manager Jupiter Fund Management dropped 5.6 percent after reporting an 18.3 percent drop in assets under management in the first quarter as fears over the coronavirus pandemic rattled financial markets.
Peer Quilter Plc also slipped 3.8 percent.
Shares in Kromek, a global supplier of medical devices, shot up 34.7 percent after announcing plans to start the manufacturing of medical ventilators in Britain and globally under a licence from Japan’s Metran.
8.30am update:Midcap index falls
The domestically focused midcap index, stuffed with companies more purely exposed to the British economy, fell 1.5 percent.
8.03am update: FTSE 100 opens
The FTSE 100 index opened at 5791.31.
7.45am: FTSE index update
The FTSE 100 index at 7.44am was unchanged at 5791.31.
Thousands have been left out of jobs during the pandemic (Image: GETTY )
7.30am update: Dollar nurses losses
The dollar fell 0.16 percent to 107.05 yen on Wednesday, close to its lowest level in a month, and also briefly slipped to $1.0994 per euro, the weakest in two weeks.
The dollar nursed losses on Wednesday as investors cautiously stepped into riskier currencies after US President Donald Trump edged toward rolling back some restrictions put in place to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
The greenback also remains under pressure following heavy measures by the Federal Reserve to boost dollar supply, though analysts say it is too early for a full-scale retreat from safe-havens with the public health threat not yet fully contained.
7.22am update: France hikes costs to support economy
The French government has hiked the expected cost of its measures to support the economy though the coronavirus crisis to €110 billion ($120.6 billion).
Finance minister Bruno Le Maire told RTL radio: “We are going to go from €45 billion in a first economic support plan … to about €110 billion.”
He added that the package included 20 billion euros to help big companies and said that support would be offered to Air France KLM in the coming days.
7.12am update: FTSE expected to start lower
The FTSE 100 is expected to open lower today at around 10 points after ending Tuesday’s session 51 points lower at 5,791, according to IG.
The UK economy has been crippled during the lockdown (Image: GETTY )
6.19am update: IMF expects China growth to slow to 1.2 percent this year
China’s central bank on Wednesday cut the interest rate on its medium-term lending facility (MLF) for financial institutions by 20 basis points to 2.95 percent, a record low, in an attempt to combat the economic fallout from the coronavirus health crisis.
More easing is widely expected to help struggling companies get back on their feet.
At the midday break, the Shanghai Composite index was down 0.15 percent at 2,823.16 points.
The index briefly traded in positive territory after the MLF rate cut.
5.56am update: Donald Trump drops bombshell plan to reopen US economy by May 1
Trump claimed his plan would see some parts of the country likely to be ready to reopen the economy before May 1.
Speaking at the White House Rose Garden, Trump said he would “authorise” governors to implement plans in their states at the appropriate time.
However, many experts doubt the president has such powers.
Speaking at a daily briefing, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo also said that President Donald Trump had inaccurately asserted the president had total authority over when states reopen schools and businesses.
“The president is clearly spoiling for a fight on this issue,” said Cuomo.