The FTSE 100 index has fallen at the start of Thursday trading, having previously enjoyed its biggest-ever two-day gain.
By mid-morning trading London’s blue chip index stands down 1.82 per cent at 5584.47, while the more domestic FTSE 250 stands at 13689.94 after a fall of 0.88 per cent.
Government intervention and central bank efforts to counter the economic blow of the Covid-19 outbreak had fuelled much of the largest two-day percentage gain since the FTSE’s inception in 1984. However, with the $2tn (£1.67tn, €1.83tn) US stimulus package held up in the American senate global markets have held their breath.
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Furthermore, the latest economic data has worsened investor fears of a prolonged recession, with recent figures for British retail describing a lack of growth even before the coronavirus crisis reared its head.
While investors and institutions will balk at UK unemployment forecasts predicting a rise from below 4 per cent to above 6 per cent as a result of the pandemic, many are closely monitoring the upcoming US jobless claims report, which is expected to be the worst on record.
Oil and gas firms have found themselves among the top fallers thus far in Thursday trading, with explorer and producer Shell (RDSB) falling 5.61 per cent and energy supplier Centrica (CNA) down 6.5 per cent. Travel and leisure firms continue to feel the impact of the near-global lockdown, with Carnival (CCL) dropping 5.22 per cent.
Despite warning of not meeting its debt and profit outlook as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, Dixons Carphone (DC) has gained 3.64 per cent.
Furthermore, while the British government has advised against the completion of property deals, there appears to have been an uptick in potential homebuyers looking to capitalise on record low interest rates. Property portal Rightmove has found itself among the top risers, gaining 5.76 per cent by mid-morning trading.