Travel stocks took a fresh beating in early trading this morning amid rising fears that the UK could be set for a new nationwide lockdown.
British Airways owner IAG led the FTSE 100 fallers this morning, tumbling more than eight per cent.
Budget airline Easyjet was also down almost seven per cent, while rivals Ryanair and Wizz Air were also in the red.
The negative sentiment took its toll on blue-chip Intercontinental Hotels Group, which dropped four per cent, while embattled cruise ship operator Carnival also slipped.
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It came amid reports that the government is considering a two-week national lockdown in October to curb a recent rise in coronavirus infections.
Top scientific advisers have reportedly recommended the measures, which could include temporary closures or reduced opening hours for pubs and restaurants.
“Amid growing chatter about a potential two-week nationwide lockdown in October in the UK, it was perhaps no surprise to see investors lose interest in stocks that could be negatively affected by such activity,” said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.
“The government wants to avoid economic disruption, but clearly a return to tighter lockdown measures next month would disrupt businesses and put further pressure on jobs.”
Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, said: “Talk of new localised and targeted lockdowns, as well as curfews and quarantines appear to be becoming more commonplace, raising concerns about the resilience of the recovery we’ve seen thus far across Europe.”
“Today’s European market open appears to reflect these continued concerns with a fairly weak start as we come to the end of a pretty choppy, but directionless week.”