Sliding tech stocks dragged down Wall Street this afternoon, while the FTSE rounded off its worst monthly fall since March amid a wave of new coronavirus lockdowns.
The three main US indexes were on course for their worst week since March as ongoing pandemic-related uncertainty and the looming presidential election sparked market volatility.
It followed losses across European markets amid a resurgence in Covid-19 cases and a spate of new lockdown measures.
The FTSE 100 ended flat at 5,577 points after a choppy day of trading. But the mid-cap FTSE 250, which is more domestically focused, closed up 0.21 per cent.
The lacklustre trading rounded off the FTSE’s worst month of trading since March, while European stocks also posted their worst weekly and monthly declines in seven months.
Stocks around the world have fallen this week as coronavirus cases rise and governments put in place new restrictions.
Cases in the US hit a new record yesterday, with more than 90,000 recorded. The country is also in the middle of a messy election. And a stimulus bill is likely to take months to materialise.
France and Germany have put in place strict new lockdown measures this week, in an effort to control Covid. The UK has put more parts of the country under the strictest “Tier 3” restrictions.
“European shares once again fell and then tried to come off the flatline in early trade on Friday after another down day in the previous session,” said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com. “But the mood is pessimistic.”
European stocks track FTSE 100 downwards
In Germany, the Dax index was down 0.36 per cent, marking losses of more than six per cent this week.
France’s CAC 40 was trading slightly higher, while the continent-wide Stoxx 600 edged 0.30 per cent higher on strong GDP figures.
French stocks were supported by the data that showed a stronger-than-expected 18.2 per cent economic expansion in the third quarter.
It was the strongest growth in the Eurozone, which expanded by a record amount but still remained around four per cent smaller than before the pandemic.
FTSE risers and fallers
There were mixed performers on the FTSE 100, as overall negative sentiment was offset by more update company results.
Oil major Shell and banking giants Natwest and Lloyds were among the biggest risers on the blue-chip index after their quarterly results came in ahead of expectations.
Ocado led the fallers with a 3.2 per cent decline, while cyber firm Avast and Just Eat also ended in the red.
Wall Street slides
Downbeat sentiment in Europe carried over into US trading this afternoon, as the three main indexes slipped in afternoon trading.
The Dow Jones was down 1.66 per cent, while the S&P 500 lost more than two per cent. The tech-heavy Nasdaq shed almost three per cent.
In addition to Covid concerns, US stocks were also hit by a tech sell-off.
Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google last night posted bumper results, showing that online advertising bounced back strongly after a tough second quarter.
But the positive figures failed to translate on the markets, as investors took a more cautious approach.
Apple, which posted disappointing iPhone sales in the third quarter due to the delayed launch of the iPhone 12, dropped more than six per cent.
Despite recording record quarterly sales, Amazon dropped 5.8 per cent, while Facebook was trading 6.7 per cent lower.
Twitter, which missed expectations for new users, slumped more than 20 per cent.
“There is a big selloff in those big tech names because they didn’t live up to the hype and people are really worried about next week’s election,” said Kim Forrest, chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital Partners.
David Madden at CMC Markets said: “The mood on Wall Street is bearish as traders are fearful for the health situation.
“Uncertainty surrounding the presidential election is a factor as it is likely to have a big impact on the proposed stimulus package – when it might be delivered and what size of a programme could be revealed.”