- The FTSE 100 continued on its downward trajectory by midday on Thursday, having hit its lowest point in four years when it closed yesterday.

At 1200, the index fell 5.7%, losing 334 points to reach 5,541.77 as the UK implements its 'delay' plan in response to the coronavirus and the US suspends all travel from Europe for the next 30 days.

Rishi Sunak's first budget as chancellor, delivered yesterday, has also had an impact as the Office of Budget Responsibility warned the hike in public borrowing will leave the UK 'vulnerable' to recession and changing investor sentiment.


Airlines continued to fall sharply, led by British Airways-owner International Consolidated Airlines' 7.9% fall to 365p, with EasyJet and Ryanair also down. Holidays firm TUI also plunged, falling 13.8% to 400p.

Oil company Tullow Oil slumped 16.2% to £15.18 after posting a $1.65bn full year plunge in to the red for the year to 31 December 2019.

According to the results statement, Tullow Oil has free cash flow of $355m and year-end net debt of $2.8bn, pushing gearing to roughly two-times net debt/EBITDA as the company faced slumping oil prices and other challenges.

Retailer WHSmith has warned on profit and sales amid coronavirus disruption to its travel division with revenue expected to be down 15% on expectations.

Total revenue increased 7% for the first half of the year to February 29, 2020, in spite of high street pressures. Its share price fell 13.5% to £13.73.

Cinema operator Cineworld warned that it may have to shutdown cinemas en masse in the battle to stop coronavirus spreading, a move that could see the company breach its banking agreements. Its shares fell 20.8% to 70p.

Pharma giant AstraZeneca dropped 4.7% to £66.29 after it announced the trial of a potential new medicine to treat patients with sensitive relapsed ovarian cancer had failed to meet its primary objective of improving survival rates compared with chemotherapy.

Meanwhile, insurer Just group announced that Chris Gibson-Smith would retire as chairman as soon as a suitable successor had been identified. Its share price fell 9.2% on the back of the news, to 52p per share.

The announcement came as the company swung to an annual profit as measures to turnaround performance were taking shape and falling interest rates boosted its investment and economic performance.

International real estate adviser, Savills, has reported a 10% boost in revenue in 2019, driven by strong performance in its 'less transactional' business lines.

Pre-tax profits at the firm remained stable at £143.3 million in 2019, compared with £143.7 million a year earlier. Its shares fell 7.2% to 926.5p.

Bodycote said it would not be providing a special dividend this year as it looked to complete its acquisition of Ellison Surface Technologies. The company also reported a fall in annual profit as revenue and margins declined amid a 'challenging' year. The shares fell 13.8% to 552.5p.

For 2019, pre-tax profit fell to £123.9m from £132.2m on-year as revenue slipped 1.2% to £719.7m.

Group revenue at independent rail and coach travel platform, Trainline, increased 24% year-on-year, driven by the launch of new services in international markets.

Group net ticket sales of £3.7 billion increased 17% year-on-year, while UK consumer net ticket sales increased 24% on the back of strong mobile demand. However, the shares fell 11.5% to 346p.

In a rare bit of positive news, IT outsourcing supplier Computacenter reported a rise in profit as acquisitions and strong performances in France and Germany underpinned performance.

But the stock fell 7.4% to £13.54, illustrating the market's sell first, think later mind set.


Beleaguered shopping centre owner Intu made a loss of £2bn in the year to 31 December 2019, the owner of Manchester's Trafford Centre and Lakeside at Thurrock in Essex blaming the loss on a 23% fall in property values over the year. Its shares fell 18.2% to 4.6p.

Story provided by