The FTSE 100 fell sharply by lunchtime Friday as investors weighed a string of negative economic updates and amid fears of a lengthy lockdown in the UK.
Airlines and travel operators were also under pressure International Consolidated Airlines (IAG) down 3.9% to 150.9p on comments from Spain suggesting holidays to one of Britons' favourite holiday destinations might be delayed until late summer.
Weak UK PMI data added to earlier negative economic releases and fears lockdown could last until the summer hit sentiment.
First thing there was news that UK borrowing hit £34.1 billion in December 2020, the third-highest borrowing in any month since monthly records began in 1993.
Meanwhile, the latest figures showed mixed retail sales figures, with a 0.3% increase in retail sales volumes in December when compared with the previous month, helped by a rebound in sales at clothing stores, but a record annual decline in sales volumes of 25% for clothing stores in 2020 when compared with 2019.
Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) dipped 0.2% to £13.63 on the announcement that ViiV Healthcare, which it majority owns, has received US regulatory approval for its HIV treatment regime Cabenuva.
Computacenter (CCC) reversed earlier gains to trade 0.7% lower at £24.36 after the technology company lifted its guidance on full-year profit, boosted by acquisitions, with adjusted pre-tax profit for the year now expected to be in excess of £195 million.
IT provider Kainos (KNOS) has soared 19.2% to £13.54 after it said a strong trading performance meant that results for the year ending 31 March 2021 are expected to be ahead of current market consensus expectations.
Toy company Character (CCT:AIM) has fallen 1.7% to 417.8p despite having reported that it would meet current market expectations, with UK sales for the four months to 31 December 2020 up 25% over the same period in 2019.
Botswana Diamonds (BOD:AIM) has lost 3.5% to 0.7p following the announcement that the mining company plans to raise £363,000 through placing of shares at a discount.
Mediclinic International (MDC) has headed 3.3% lower to 290p after it reported a 2.5% rise in group revenue in the third quarter, due to 'unseasonably high' demand for inpatient services in December.