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Markets

London stocks follow Europe lower as Trump tests positive for COVID-19

  • The blue-chip FTSE 100 index fell 0.5pc and was on track to end the week roughly flat after two weeks of losses.
02 Oct 2020

Brexit concerns kept London-listed shares in negative territory on Friday as global stock markets steadied from the initial shock of US President Donald Trump testing positive for the novel coronavirus.

Trump said on Friday he and his wife Melania had tested positive for COVID-19 and were going into quarantine, raising concerns about the impact on his presidential campaign less than five weeks before the election.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 index fell 0.5pc and was on track to end the week roughly flat after two weeks of losses.

"The initial knee-jerk reaction was on the possibility of the US elections being affected but, with markets being largely off lows, investors (are) focusing on European markets (to) continue to be mildly pessimistic, having most of their attention on Brexit developments," said Chris Bailey, a strategist at Raymond James.

The blue-chip index currently trades higher than its March lows, but rising COVID-19 infections and Brexit uncertainty have led the index to trade range-bound, dampening investor optimism around fresh stimulus measures.

The mid-cap FTSE 250 lost 0.6pc, with increasing cases and fresh lockdown fears in the UK also dampening sentiment.

The British Chamber of Commerce said on Friday many more British companies reported a fall in sales over the past three months than the ones who experienced an upswing, despite the lifting of most coronavirus restrictions.

Gold miner Centamin Plc tumbled 18.3pc as it forecast a fall in annual production after it delayed some open-pit mining operations at its key Sukari mine in Egypt.

British Airways owner IAG rose to the top of the FTSE 100 after it announced the results of its 2.74-billion-euro capital increase, saying on Thursday it sold 100pc of the new shares in its plan to help strengthen its finances.