Share prices around the world have dropped after a potential wonder drug for treating coronavirus failed medical trials in China.
Medics have pinned their hopes on Gilead Sciences treatment remdesivir offering a respite from the pandemic.
But researchers in China reported the drug had no discernible effect on coronavirus patients despite test results to the opposite leaked in the US.
The firm claims the results were fudged, but traders ignored their complaints.
CMC Markets analyst David Madden said: “The news took the wind out of the bulls’ sails, and US stocks broadly finished flat. Gilead still maintain the drug can benefit Covid-19 patients, but dealers remain unimpressed.”
Worst retail sales figures ever
Meanwhile, in London, hugely disappointing retail results showed non-essential shops suffered a 5.1% fall in sales during the first month of the lockdown – the steepest sales falls since data collection started in 1996.
Analysts fear the way UK consumers shop has changed for good and that many struggling stores will go to the wall in favour of online shopping.
The FTSE 100 closed 74.38 points down at 5752.23 – a fall of 1.28%, while the FTSE 250 ended the week at 15687.43, a fall of 0.68%.
The Pound suffered as well – falling 0.23% against the Euro to €1.1429, 0.26% down to the Japanese Yen to ¥132.519 and dropped 0.11% against the US dollar to $1.2331.
In America, in early day trading, the Dow Jones slipped 0.09% to 23495.18, the NASDAQ climbed 0.32% to 8521.86 but the S&P500 added 0.16% to 2802.14.
Oil prices bouncing back
Across Europe, the CAC 40 in France settled at falling 1.3% to 4393.32; the German DAX dropped 1.69% to 10336.09; the Euro Stoxx was down 1.52% to 2809.07 and the IBEX in Spain lost 1.97% to 6613.90.
Overnight, trading in Asia set the mould for the day, with the Hang Seng in Hong Kong losing 0.61% to fall to 23831.33 and Tokyo’s Nikkei slipped 0.86% to 19262.0.
Oil prices continued to bounce back after hitting historic lows earlier in the week, with a barrel of Brent crude rising 0.94% to $21.53 and West Texas Intermediate crude prices adding 1.45% to $16.74.
Gold was rising – up 1.5% to $1736.25.