FTSE declines as the virus proves more difficult to shake off

While Monday’s coronavirus numbers showed an encouraging dip, by Wednesday it became clear that though the virus is under control, the case and death load is declining painfully slowly.

Charts (6)

While Monday’s coronavirus numbers showed an encouraging dip, by Wednesday it became clear that though the virus is under control, the case and death load is declining painfully slowly. The resurgence of cases across Europe, particularly in Germany, which was the one country that looked as if it had the virus under control, is dousing investors’ confidence.

UK retail-orientated shares are slumping this morning despite yesterday’s decision to allow a wider range of businesses to reopen from July and to reduce the social distance requirement to just one meter.

There is also more pressure on travel companies as the EU is looking into potentially banning Americans from visiting, alongside Russians and Brazilians, because the pandemic is not fading in the US.

Premier Foods shares are among the very few FTSE risers. Despite the pandemic the company expects revenue for the first quarter to rise by around 20% and to exceed its current profit forecast for 2021.

WTI, Brent prices decline as stock levels rise

The anticipated decline in the size of the US crude oil inventories has not materialised yet but there are signs that the market is beginning to shift. The price reaction was immediate and WTI prices dropped 1.3%, but investors ignored the finer breakdown of the numbers showing that there have also been large withdrawals during the last week as demand picks up, and the large drop in production is starting to be felt. US-China trade frictions remain a major headwind for the oil market but for the moment US officials are trying to confirm their belief that Phase One of the trade deal will be fulfilled as agreed.

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