Hopes of a 'V-shaped' recovery in the UK stock market look to be fading as shares continue to take a beating, while dividend wipe-out across the market continues.

The benchmark FTSE 100 index opened 3.7% down at 5,602 this morning, with investors hopes also dented by a warning from the Bank of England that the UK economy is set for long-term damage as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, Asian stock markets were more upbeat, with the Nikkei 225 in Japan moving 3.9% higher and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong almost flat with a 0.05% rise. China's Shanghai Composite meanwhile recorded a 0.26% gain.

In commodities, oil is still in the doldrums with Brent crude futures trading 1.7% down at $25.89 per barrel as the battle between Saudi Arabia and Russia – the first and third largest oil producers in the world – shows no sign of abating.

Rising oil production and sharply lower demand as a result of lock-downs around the world has massively impacted oil prices in recent weeks.

Gold is starting to trend upwards again after being surprisingly subdued in the last few weeks, though the price is down 1.8% today at $1,619.78 per ounce.

FLUTTER PAYS 2019 DIVI IN SHARES, SSE'S INTACT

In company news, Paddy Power and Betfair owner Flutter Entertainment (FLTR) fell 5% to £70.38 after it said in an update it would pay its 2019 dividend in ordinary shares, shelve a pro-rated dividend in relation to its merger with The Stars Group, and suspend the 2020 dividend for the combined group.

Power utility SSE (SSE) slumped 6% to £13.10, having warned that annual earnings would be at the lower end of its guidance range, even before including any impact from the coronavirus crisis.

SSE did have some better news, as it kept its dividend plans intact, although it warned that future payouts were under review.

REDROW CLOSES SITES, SLA FALLS DESPITE BAGGING £237M

Aerospace and defence contractor Meggitt (MGGT) fell 3.3% to 326p as it decided to withdraw its planned final dividend payment, of 11.95p per share, after having reassessed the impact of the coronavirus outbreak on its business.

Housebuilder Redrow (RDW) lost 5.4% to 380p having decided to close all of its building sites and offices.The company also said it was talking to its lenders about accessing more credit.

Fund manager Standard Life Aberdeen (SLA) slipped 5.2% to 244p, despite pocketing 21.86bn Indian rupees (£237m) by selling a further stake in Indian insurer HDFC Life.

Healthcare services group Mediclinic International (MDC) fell 4.5% to 297p, even as it announced the appointment of former Lloyds of London chief executive Inga Beale as its new chairman.

PROVIDENT, RIGHTMOVE, MARSHALL ALL AXE 2019 PAYOUT

Subprime lender Provident Financial (PFG) dropped 11% to 225p after it scrapped its 2019 dividend, while predicting its credit issued and collections performance would be adversely impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Property portal Rightmove (RMV) reversed 4.4% to 467p as it too cancelled its final dividend.

Landscape products group Marshalls (MSLH) wilted 2.5% to 619.5p, having cancelled its final dividend for 2019 plus a planned supplementary payout.

Student accommodation investor GCP Student Living (DIGS) edged up 0.2% to 127p, despite warning it expected to receive 'materially' reduced revenues than budgeted for the final term of the current academic year.

TOTALLY SOARS AS IT HELPS NHS

Healthcare service provider Totally (TLY:AIM) soared 13.7% to 12p as it detailed how it is supporting the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic.

The company’s urgent care team has been helping with the NHS’s 111 service in responding to unprecedented call volumes, while the firm is also supporting NHS England with passengers arriving at Heathrow airport among other things.

Totally said it remains confident performance will remain strong as it approaches its March 2020 year end, and has requested additional funding from the NHS and Commissioners for the additional, enhanced services delivered.

 

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Issue Date: 27 Mar 2020