London-listed shares slid for a second straight day on Wednesday as another jump in global cases of the novel coronavirus clouded hopes for an economic rebound in the second half of the year, while FirstGroup tumbled on flagging going concern doubts.
The bus and rail operator fell 4.7% after it also posted an annual operating loss as passenger volumes plummeted due to the health crisis.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 was off 0.6% and the mid-cap FTSE 250 0.4%, with banks, energy and auto stocks among the biggest decliners in early trading.
All eyes later in the day will be on finance minister’s Rishi Sunak’s statement where he is expected to announce a new scheme to stave off youth unemployment as he attempts to revitalise the economy following its COVID-19 lockdown.
HSBC fell 3.5% to the bottom of the FTSE 100 after a report said U.S. President Donald Trump’s top advisers weighed proposals to undermine the Hong Kong currency’s peg to the U.S. dollar. The proposal could possibly limit the ability of Hong Kong banks to buy dollars.