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UPDATE 2-London shares fall for second day as virus concerns dull rebound hopes
Published at 08/07/2020 at 17:10
(For a live blog on European stocks, type LIVE/ in an Eikon news window)
* FirstGroup plunges after flags doubts about its future
* Sunak pledges 30 bln pounds to stem unemployment crisis
* Banks, transport stocks lead declines
* FTSE 100 down 0.6%, FTSE 250 down 0.9%
(Updates prices to close, adds comments)
By Shreyashi Sanyal
July 8 (Reuters) - London shares slid for the second straight session on Wednesday as another jump in global COVID-19 cases overshadowed hopes of an economic rebound, even as stimulus poured in to help steer the economy away from an unemployment crisis.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 slipped 0.6% and the mid-cap FTSE 250 fell 0.9%, with banks and transport indexes leading declines.
Finance Minister Rishi Sunak promised an additional 30 billion pounds ($38 billion) on Wednesday, funnelling money to employers, homebuyers and hospitality firms to drive a recovery.
The move was initially well-received by investors but concerns over surging coronavirus cases governed sentiment to the day's close. However, housebuilders rose 0.5%, from the announcement of stamp duty cuts.
"The tax cut should provide a much-needed shot in the arm for the property industry, which saw a complete shutdown during lockdown and is now plagued with worries about falling house prices," Laura Suter, personal finance analyst at AJ Bell, said.
FirstGroup tumbled 23.1% to its lowest in more than three months after the bus and rail operator warned its future was in doubt after a collapse in passenger numbers led to a 153 million pounds ($192 million) loss in the year to March.
A raft of stimulus helped the FTSE 100 rebound about 9% in the second quarter after a coronavirus-driven crash in March, but the export-laden index has struggled to build on those gains in July given forecasts of a slower-than-expected post-pandemic rebound and simmering U.S.-China tensions.
HSBC fell 3.4% after a report said U.S. President Donald Trump's top advisers were considering proposals to undermine the Hong Kong currency's peg to the U.S. dollar. The proposal could limit the ability of Hong Kong banks to buy dollars.
Economic data on Wednesday showed the collapse in Britain's labour market eased only slightly in June.
(Reporting by Shreyashi Sanyal and Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani; editing by Uttaresh.V and Barbara Lewis)
((Shreyashi.Sanyal@thomsonreuters.com; +1 646 223 8780; +91 961 144 3740; Twitter: ))
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