The FTSE 100 fell after the open this morning, taking its cue from its Asian peers, which slumped amid growing concerns over the spread of the new flu-like coronavirus from China.
Britain’s blue chip index opened down, and was trading 0.49 per cent down by 8.30am, with miners and oil majors weighing on the index. The FTSE 100 has shed over one per cent this week.
European equities also opened lower, with Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 slipping 0.48 and 0.24 per cent respectively.
These slides follow slides in Asian markets overnight as investors remained anxious about the spread of coronavirus.
The outbreak, which was so far killed 17 and infected almost 600 people, has led to the Chinese city of Wuhan being put on lockdown as authorities scramble to prevent a global pandemic.
Shanghai’s SSE Composite index closed 1.46 per cent in the red, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng ended the session 1.11 per cent down. Japan’s Nikkei 225 ended Thursday 0.87 per cent in the red.
Miners provided a major drag on the FTSE 100, with Antofagasta leading the fallers at 2.98 per cent. Glencore, Rio Tinto and BHP all also fell in morning trading.
Shell and BP both fell as the oil price continued to slide, with Brent Crude down 1.03 per cent to $62.56 per barrel and West Texas Intermediate (WTI) slipping as much as 1.37 per cent, edging close to the crucial $55 barrier at $55.96 per barrel.
“Prices of WTI broke down through important long term averages yesterday and this could herald a further retreat, though $55 is likely to offer an area of stabilisation,” said Markets.com analyst Neil Wilson.
“Worries over the potential impact of the coronavirus on China/Asia growth are a factor but largely I see this as over-extended longs having stops triggered,” he added.