UK stocks fell sharply on Monday as the number of virus cases in the UK continued to rise and fears grew of a second nationwide lockdown. At midday the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down over 200 points or 3.4% to 5,801.

International Consolidated Airlines (IAG) was the biggest FTSE faller, dropping 13% to 96p on fears of new travel restrictions, while low-cost rival EasyJet (EZJ) shed 8% to 499p.

Bus and rail stocks also fell sharply after the Government scrapped rail franchising and extended support for the rail industry, with FirstGroup (FGP) down 14% to 36.5p, Go-Ahead Group (GOG) down 8% to 602p and Stagecoach (SGC) down 15% to 37.7p.

Sentiment towards banks soured after the release of more than 2,000 suspicious activity reports gleaned from the US Treasury Department which showed financial institutions continuing to handle money for companies in havens without knowing source of the funds or the ultimate owners.

Barclays (BARC), down 7% to 90.2p, and HSBC (HSBA) down 6% to a 25-year low of 285p, both denied any wrongdoing and insisted they complied with all legal and regulatory obligations.

In company news, fashion brand Superdry (SDRY) sank 11% to 135p having posted a deeper annual loss after the Covid-19 pandemic hampered its turnaround efforts.

The firm said trading had improved as social distancing measures were relaxed. Even so, revenue in the seven weeks to 12 September was down 31%, while in the 20 weeks to 12 September it was down 27%.

Consumer goods group UP Global Sourcing (UPGS), also known as Ultimate Products, tumbled 8% to 92.5p following news that co-founder Barry Franks was standing down from its board.

Franks would remain in the role of president, in recognition of his continuing contribution to Ultimate Products, said the company, which also appointed two new non-executive directors.

Music rights investor Hipgnosis Songs Fund (SONG) dropped 5.0% to 119.25p as it launched a £254m share issue to fund the acquisition of more song catalogues.

New shares in the company were being offered at 116p each, a 7.9% discount to the Hipgnosis closing price on Friday.

Warehouse investor Urban Logistics REIT (SHED) fell 3.4% to 142p after it launched a capital raise of up to £130m to acquire more properties.

New shares in the company were being offered at 139p each, a 5.4% discount to Urban Logistics REIT's closing price on Friday.

Publisher and events group Informa (INF) dropped 3% to 369p as it posted a deep annual loss due to event cancellations.

Informa also said it extend delays of events into mid-to-late spring next year to soften the impact from the pandemic - a move that was expected to help strengthen its balance sheet.

Security company and takeover target G4S (GFS) slipped 2.8% to 188p as it said its underlying earnings were now ahead for the first eight months of 2020 on-year, following a 'strong' first half performance.

G4S said its revenue was 1.9% lower overall, though this was more than offset by cost control and reduced interest expenses.

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca (AZN) fell 1.6% to £86.02 despite revealing positive trial results for a lung cancer treatment.

Separately, AstraZeneca also announced said it and partner Merck had received marketing authorisation in the European Union for a treatment for prostate cancer and ovarian cancer.

Specialist currency manager Record (REC) was a rare gainer, soaring 11.8% to 35.5p on announcing that it had been selected for a dynamic hedging mandate of about $8bn in size.

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Issue Date: 21 Sep 2020