FTSE Slumps As Coronavirus Outbreak Looks Grim

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The FTSE slumped back into the red after several days of recovery on worsening news about jobs and the coronavirus crisis.

The FTSE 100 was down 5.25% t 5510.33 at close of the week’s trading, while the FTSE 250 dropped 3.97% to 14769.80.

Cruise company Carnival looked good at the start f the week with big gains, but lost ground as the day’s largest loser – 20% down. Royal Mail fell back 17.5% warning that parcels, international and letters businesses were all heading for losses.

Sterling bucked the trend with another nudge up – 1.46% against the US Dollar to $1.23 and 1.1% against the Euro to €1.11.

Billionaire Branson to seek bail-out

As the day ended, speculation mounted that billionaire Richard Branson’s Virgin Atlantic airline was going cap in hand to the government next week for a bail-out totalling hundreds of millions.

But the feeling on the floor was someone so wealthy should look after staff better as the coronavirus outbreak spreads before asking for public money. Virgin has asked thousands of staff to take unpaid leave as planes were grounded and flights suspended.

Earlier this week, Chancellor Rishi Sunak told airlines that they should raise money from investors and the look to government as a ‘last resort’.

Elsewhere, around 2,000 jobs are at risk as restaurant chain Carluccio’s faces going to the wall and reveals directors are in talks with administrators.

Thousands of jobs at risk as firms flounder

Kate Nicholls, chief executive of trade association Hospitality UK, had warned the coronavirus lockdown was “catastrophic for businesses and jobs”.

“Thousands of businesses will close their doors for good, with hundreds of thousands of job losses,” she said.

“Over the past few weeks the industry has suffered unprecedented drops in visits and many business are already on their knees. This latest advice leaves the industry in limbo, with no recourse to insurance.

“The government must act now to stop them going under and protect the people’s jobs.”

Airline support firm John Menzies also chopped 17,500 jobs to try and protect the business from more damage triggered by Covid-19 and rent-to-own firm Brighthouse is expected to go into administration with 2,400 jobs at risk.

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