Daily Management Review

New Coronavirus Variant Rattles Investors, Global Share Take A Hit


New Coronavirus Variant Rattles Investors, Global Share Take A Hit
Global stock markets have plummeted following the discovery of a new Covid strain prompted concerns about the economy's recovery.
The FTSE 100 index in London fell over 3%, while markets in Germany and France also fell as a result of Asian market declines.
Airlines and travel companies were among the worst-affected stocks.
Flights from six southern African countries have been banned in the United Kingdom and other countries.
Scientists are "extremely concerned" about the new Covid strain's ability to elude protection, according to UK Health Secretary Sajid Javid.
From 12:00 on Friday until 04:00 on Sunday, flights from South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, and Eswatini are temporarily restricted in the United Kingdom.
The UK's travel warning list has been updated to include all six counties. It implies that everyone travelling from the UK or Ireland after 04:00 on Sunday would be required to quarantine in a hotel, while anyone arriving before then will be urged to isolate at home.
The FTSE 100 index is down considerably, with British Airways owner IAG leading the way with a 14 percent drop in its stock price. Rolls-Royce, a company that makes plane engines, saw its stock plummet by more than 10%.
EasyJet, like Whizz Air, was one of the largest losers on the FTSE 250 index, with shares down 10%. Travel companies such as Carnival Cruise Lines and Tui have also seen significant reductions.
"Fear has gripped the financial markets with the travel industry flying into another violent storm," said Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
"With Europe still battling with the surge of a fourth wave of the virus, there are now fears that the highly mutated Covid strain discovered in states in Southern Africa will prompt fresh shutdowns around the world in an attempt to stop its spread, leading to another drag on recovery."
Despite Friday's drop, the FTSE 100 is still about 12% higher than it was a year ago.
Flights from the six southern African countries have been prohibited by a number of other countries, including Germany, Italy, and Israel.
On Friday, the top stock market indices in Germany and France both plummeted by more than 3%.
Other EU states should "engage the emergency brake" to prohibit travel from certain countries, according to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.
Stock markets in Japan, Hong Kong, and Australia, as well as indices in India and South Korea, all sank overnight.
Oil prices have also fallen as a result of concerns that the new Covid strain may result in limitations and a reduction in demand. Brent crude fell 5.86 percent to $77.43 a barrel by early afternoon, extending previous losses.
"The drop in the oil price is the market's way of saying it is worried about a reduction in economic activity," said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.
Oil major BP's stock fell 6.2 per cent in London, while competitor Shell's stock fell more than 4.6 per cent.
But Mould added: "The flipside of falling commodity prices is that a weaker oil price should provide some relief in terms of inflationary pressures.
"That may cause central banks to be more cautious towards raising rates in the near-term, however it does depend on whether the new Covid strain causes significant disruption or can be contained as best as possible in a rapid manner."