The FTSE 100 has recorded one of its biggest ever one-day drops after plunging a staggering 9% shortly after the market open on Monday.

The UK's benchmark index fell a whopping 600 points to 5,919, after oil plunged an incredible 30%.

After Saudi Arabia launched a price war over the weekend, following the collapse of its oil-cutting alliance with Russia, the price of crude has dropped to four-year lows and recorded its biggest one-day drop since the Gulf War in 1991.

Oil major BP (BP.) fell 20% to 315p, while fellow oil giant Royal Dutch Shell (RDSB) plunged 21.8% to £12.47.

Asian stock markets also tanked, with Japan's Nikkei 225 tumbling 5%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong down 3% and China's Shanghai Composite down 2%.

The turmoil has been good for gold however with the price of the shiny metal rising 2.4% to $1,687 per ounce.

In company news this morning, supermarket Tesco (TSCO) fell 3.2% to 232p after it announced an agreement to sell its businesses in Thailand and Malaysia for £8bn as part of a simplification and de-risking of its portfolio, with around £5bn set to be returned to shareholders via a special dividend.

Tesco said the deal will give it a stronger focus on driving cash generation and returns to shareholders from its retail businesses in the UK and Ireland and in Central Europe.

Property search portal OnTheMarket (OTMP) fell 2.1% to 68.5p after it unceremoniously sacked its chief executive Ian Springett with chief financial officer Clive Beattie taking his place as acting CEO.

It comes as the company reported slightly better than expected revenue and adjusted EBITDA in a trading update ahead of its full year results, with revenues set to come in slightly above the £18-18.5m guided by management.

Engineering services group John Wood (WG.) plunged 27% to 235p after it agreed to sell its nuclear business to engineering giant Jacobs for £250m. The deal represents a multiple of approximately 12.4x based on 2018 EBITDA of £20.2m.

The firm said the sale was part of its plans to improve its portfolio of businesses and reduce debt, accelerating the company's progress towards its target leverage policy.

Distribution and outsourcing company Bunzl (BNZL) crashed 8.7% to £17.51 as it announced the acquisition of Bodyguard Workwear, a safety business in the UK, for an undisclosed sum.

Bodyguard Workwear, based in Birmingham, distribute safety workwear and other personal protection equipment, principally to customers in the rail sector.

'This is an important development for our UK safety operations,' Bunzl said. 'The acquisition pipeline continues to be promising with a number of ongoing discussions taking place,' it added.

Outsourced services company Serco (SRP) fell 5.9% to 137p as it won a contract extension worth about A$730m (£370m) to provide support services to Fiona Stanley hospital in Perth, Australia.

The six-year extension would commence in August 2021, at the completion of the first 10-year term of the contract.

Shipping services company Clarkson (CKN) dropped 5.9% to £22.45 as it warned the coronavirus would hurt its performance in the first half of 2020.

The company also booked a fall in annual profit amid a rise in costs following its acquisition of RS Platou and weakness in its financial business.

For the 12 months to 31 December 2019, reported pre-tax profit fell to £0.2m from £42.9m on-year, even as revenue rose to £363m from £337.6m.

Life science research tools provider Abcam (ABC) fell 8.6% to £11.47 as it reported a fall in profits as a ramp-up in investments weighed on margins, offsetting a rise in revenue. The company also said it was reviewing its capital allocation plans including its dividend.

For the six-month period ended 31 December, pre-tax profit fell to £26m from £33.7m on-year, even as revenue increased 10.8%.

 

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Issue Date: 09 Mar 2020