UK stocks tumbled on Monday as the number of virus cases in the UK continued to rise and fears grew of a second nationwide lockdown.   At the close the benchmark FTSE 100 index was down over 200 points or 3.4%, its biggest daily loss since July, to 5,804 points.

International Consolidated Airlines (IAG) was the biggest FTSE faller, dropping 12% to 97p 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 12% to 37.5p, Go-Ahead Group (GOG) down 5% to 620p, National Express (NEX) down 8% to 119.7p and Stagecoach (SGC) down 18% to 36.4p.

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 5% to 92.2p, and HSBC (HSBA) down 5% to a 25-year low of 288p both denied any wrongdoing and insisted they complied with all legal and regulatory obligations.

In company news, fashion brand Superdry (SDRY) sank 13% to 132.7p 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%.

Shares in engineering firm Rolls-Royce (RR.) slid 11% to 160.7p after the firm admitted it was mulling raising up to £2.5 billion in fresh debt and equity to shore up its balance sheet.

Consumer goods group UP Global Sourcing (UPGS), also known as Ultimate Products, tumbled 9% to 91.3p 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 6% to 118p 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.

Security company and takeover target G4S (GFS) slipped 4% to 186p 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.

Publisher and events group Informa (INF) dropped 3.4% to 368p 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.

Warehouse investor Urban Logistics REIT (SHED) shed 2.4% to 143.5p 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.

Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca (AZN) fell 1.5% to £86.12 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 23% to 39p 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