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22 Mar 2021 | 08:30

London open: Travel & leisure stocks pace the decline

(Sharecast News) - London equity markets edged lower in early trade on Monday, with travel and leisure stocks pacing the decline amid a vaccine spat between the UK and EU and concerns about rising Covid cases in Europe. At 0855 GMT, the FTSE 100 was down 0.3% at 6,686.12.

Over the weekend, the European Union threatened to ban exports of the AstraZeneca vaccine to the UK, with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen arguing the EU can "forbib" vaccines made on the Continent from being sent to the UK.

Meanwhile, worries about a third wave in Europe were exacerbated by news that German Chancellor Angela Merkel has recommended a four-week lockdown extension.

Sentiment also took a knock after the Turkish lira slid 15% as President Erdogan sacked the country's central bank chief over the weekend and replaced him with a critic of high interest rates.

Spreadex analyst Connor Campbell said much of the focus is on the vaccine-related tensions between the UK and EU.

"This as a third wave of Covid-19 creeps its way across continental Europe in the face of a sluggish vaccine rollout, leading to fresh lockdowns in France and Italy," he said. "And with a delay in 5 million Oxford/AstraZeneca doses from India already threatening the UK's own vaccine timetable, there are fears that this EU export ban would further hinder the country's restriction-easing plans.

"These anxieties, coupled with last week's post-Fed bond sell-off, made themselves felt after the bell."

In equity markets, travel and leisure stocks slumped on reports that summer holidays abroad were looking unlikely due to new variants of Covid-19 and a surge in cases in Europe. British Airways and Iberia parent IAG, engine maker Rolls-Royce, InterContinental Hotels, Premier Inn owner Whitbread, budget airlines easyJet and Wizz Air, Tui and cruise operator Carnival all fell sharply.

IAG was also knocked lower by a downgrade to 'hold' from 'buy' at Deutsche Bank.

On the upside, B&Q owner Kingfisher rallied after it reinstated its dividend as it reported soaring annual profits and a strong start to the new fiscal year on higher demand from "a new generation of DIYers" working from home during the Covid-19 pandemic.

AstraZeneca was in the black after it said a US trial of the coronavirus vaccine it has developed with the University of Oxford showed it is 79% effective at preventing symptomatic Covid-19 and 100% efficacy at preventing severe disease and hospitalisation.

Centamin gained after the gold miner said pre-tax profit for the year to the end of December jumped 82% to $315m (£228m) as the higher price of gold more than offset a dip in production during the Covid-19 crisis.

Market Movers

FTSE 100 (UKX) 6,686.12 -0.34% FTSE 250 (MCX) 21,382.96 -0.17% techMARK (TASX) 4,173.11 -0.17%

FTSE 100 - Risers

Kingfisher (KGF) 324.00p 3.39% NATWEST GROUP PLC ORD 100P (NWG) 196.40p 2.61% Rightmove (RMV) 578.80p 2.08% Ocado Group (OCDO) 2,049.00p 1.34% Scottish Mortgage Inv Trust (SMT) 1,130.00p 1.08% Lloyds Banking Group (LLOY) 41.43p 1.02% Barclays (BARC) 184.30p 0.85% Barratt Developments (BDEV) 773.00p 0.81% AstraZeneca (AZN) 7,167.00p 0.80% Evraz (EVR) 546.60p 0.62%

FTSE 100 - Fallers

International Consolidated Airlines Group SA (CDI) (IAG) 192.75p -6.53% Rolls-Royce Holdings (RR.) 110.85p -4.57% Melrose Industries (MRO) 172.10p -1.94% InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) 4,906.00p -1.86% Compass Group (CPG) 1,459.00p -1.86% Renishaw (RSW) 5,870.00p -1.67% Hargreaves Lansdown (HL.) 1,525.00p -1.61% Fresnillo (FRES) 949.40p -1.53% Informa (INF) 583.40p -1.46% Whitbread (WTB) 3,267.00p -1.33%

FTSE 250 - Risers

C&C Group (CDI) (CCR) 292.50p 3.89% Apax Global Alpha Limited (APAX) 201.50p 3.87% Helios Towers (HTWS) 158.60p 3.66% HGCapital Trust (HGT) 317.00p 2.76% Euromoney Institutional Investor (ERM) 962.00p 2.23% 4Imprint Group (FOUR) 2,305.00p 2.22% Computacenter (CCC) 2,218.00p 2.21% RIT Capital Partners (RCP) 2,400.00p 2.11% JTC (JTC) 600.00p 2.04% ICG Enterprise Trust (ICGT) 1,035.00p 1.97%

FTSE 250 - Fallers

easyJet (EZJ) 929.60p -6.95% Cineworld Group (CINE) 114.80p -5.90% Hammerson (HMSO) 33.24p -5.63% TUI AG Reg Shs (DI) (TUI) 377.30p -5.11% Carnival (CCL) 1,621.50p -4.10% Wizz Air Holdings (WIZZ) 4,726.00p -4.07% Liontrust Asset Management (LIO) 1,360.00p -3.89% Sirius Real Estate Ltd. (SRE) 92.60p -3.54% Provident Financial (PFG) 190.50p -3.05% Meggitt (MGGT) 473.90p -2.56%
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