UK markets open in 8 hours

Soaring airlines fail to rescue London’s top market from a drop

Simon Neville and August Graham, PA City Staff

A strong showing from its airlines, was not enough to stop London’s top index slipping into the red on Thursday.

EasyJet and British Airways owner IAG topped the class on a good day for the travel industry, which also saw cruise operator Carnival in fourth place.

But the rise of the travel companies was not enough to stave off a 0.6% drop in the FTSE 100.

It ended the day down 40.97 points to 6341.44.

It was part of a muted showing worldwide, with markets in Europe and the US also suffering.

The European Central Bank said on Thursday it would increase its stimulus by adding 600 billion euros (£540 billion) to its bond-buying programme.

The bank’s president Christine Lagarde tried to relieve some of the “unprecedented contraction” being felt among the eurozone economies.

Meanwhile, relations between the US and China have declined further, putting more pressure on international markets.

“The slight increase in US-China trade tensions – President Trump wants to ban flights from China – has given traders an excuse to lock-in some recent profits,” said David Madden, an analyst at CMC Markets.

The S&P 500 was down 0.3%, while the Dow Jones was trading around flat when markets closed in Europe.

The Dax in Germany dropped 0.5%, while France’s Cac was 0.1% up.

The price of a barrel of Brent crude oil dropped 0.6% to 39.55.

In company news, the Bank of England revealed the names of the 53 businesses who have taken out coronavirus loans.

Most of the listed companies had already announced they had applied but Asos was a new addition, taking a loan of £100 million. It follows a fundraising with shareholders in April. Shares closed up 147p at 3,377p.

In the car market, a bloodbath on the forecourt hit the sector, with dealership Lookers and car maker Aston Martin both cutting 1,500 and 500 jobs respectively.

Aston Martin shares fell 2.2p to 66.65p but Lookers jumped 3.7p to 27p as investors hoped the cuts could help the company recover.

Tonic maker Fever-Tree saw sales from supermarkets and off-licences surge by nearly a quarter in the first full month of lockdown.

But with its on-trade business ground to a halt, investors took fright, with shares closing down 105p at 1,975p.

Shareholders in HSBC, down 2.4p at 399.4p, and Standard Chartered, up 3.7p at 431p, were unfazed as criticism grew following overnight indications from the Far-East-focused banks that they would support a controversial new law in Hong Kong.

Young’s has said it plans to reopen its pubs by August but could open beer gardens and larger sites as soon as next month, saying it is “absolutely vital” that social-distancing measures decrease from two metres to one metre when restrictions relax. Shares closed down 10p at 1,140p.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were easyJet, up 48.6p to 833p, IAG, up 9p to 288.2p, Meggitt, up 9.5p to 339.6p, Carnival, up 20p to 1,194.5p, and Berkeley Group, up 69p to 4363p.

The biggest fallers on the FTSE 100 were Intermediate Capital Group, down 105p to 1281p, Pennon Group, down 59p to 1,134p, Whitbread, down 126p to 2,525p, Hargreaves Lansdown, down 72p to 1,622.5p, and Schroders, down 103p to 3,030p.