Picture used for illustration. File
London-listed stocks snapped two straight sessions of gains on Tuesday as fears of another wave of the COVID-19 pandemic overshadowed signs of a tentative economic recovery in May, while safety equipment maker Halma slumped on a bleak forecast.
Halma's shares slid 5.9% after the company said it expected both profit and revenue to fall in its fiscal year 2021 and flagged potential job cuts.
Tech-heavy investment trust Scottish Mortgage fell 5.5%, tracking a sell-off in US and European technology stocks on new coronavirus restrictions in California and simmering US-China tensions.
The export-laden FTSE 100 was down 0.6%, with financials, health care and consumer staples stocks among the biggest drags, but a weaker pound helped it outperform European peers.
The mid-cap FTSE 250 shed 1.2%, as authorities said a second wave of COVID-19 in the coming winter could kill up to 120,000 Britons over nine months in a worst-case scenario.
Dollar slightly higher as geopolitics and virus unsettle the mood
Nikkei drops on profit-taking, semiconductor stocks slump
UK economy around a quarter smaller than before pandemic
"With the UK being in the early stages of re-opening up the economy, there is a fear among investors that if a threshold is exceeded, coronavirus cases might spike," said David Madden, analyst at CMC Markets.
UK equities have rallied from a coronavirus-driven crash in March on aggressive global stimulus and signs of a revival in business activity following the easing of nationwide restrictions.
Data on Tuesday showed UK gross domestic product rose 1.8% in May after slumping by a record 20.3% in April. But consumer spending remains far below normal levels and economists are cautious about the longevity of any recovery.
Citigroup analyst Robert Buckland said he expected UK stocks to remain around current levels in the next year as "the shutdowns have reversed nearly two decades of growth (and) a recovery is unlikely to be quick and simple."
Online supermarket and technology group Ocado slipped 2.5% despite reporting a 27.2% jump in first-half retail sales.
The blue-chip FTSE 100 was up 1.3%, with fewer than 10 stocks in the red in early trading, while the mid-cap FTSE 250 added 1.0%, led by the auto, personal goods and mining sectors.
The benchmark Nikkei 225 index gained 0.65 per cent, or 152.81 points, at 23,559.30, while the broader Topix index was up 0.88 per cent, or 14.46 points, at 1,651.10.
The miner fell 4.6% as it also booked a $3.2 billion impairment charge, driving the FTSE 100 down 1.2%.
DP World has invested more than $10 billion (Dhs37.3 billion) in the global logistics sector since 2012, making it one of the top five overseas investors in this period,
International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Kristalina Georgieva warned on Sunday that risks to financial stability had increased and stressed “the need for vigilance”
Expo Centre Sharjah has announced it is all set to kick off the 40th edition of “Ramadan Nights 2023,” a highly anticipated commercial and marketing event in the Emirate of Sharjah.