Stock markets slumped to record losses in the first three mnths of the year due to fears over how coronavirus impacts the world economy and investments.
As the largest falls recorded for quarterly trading in 37 years hit the markets, London‘s FTSE dived 23% and New York’s Dow Jones plunged 25%.
Most other markets around the world suffered similar declines.
The latest uncertainty shaking investors in the UK came as the big banks – Lloyds, Royal Bank of Scotland, Barclays, HSBC and Standard Chartered – scrapped massive £15.6 billion dividend payment to shareholders to protect their cash.
The Bank of England also wants the banks to go farther by stopping bonus payments for top earners as well.
Sensible decision, say regulators
The Prudential Regulation Authority, which is part of the Bank of England, said: “Although the decisions taken today will result in shareholders not receiving dividends, they are a sensible precautionary step given the unique role that banks need to play in supporting the wider economy through a period of economic disruption.”
The FTSE 100 lost 4.28%, dropping 242.50 points to 5429.46, while the FTSE 250 shadowed the fall by shedding 4.28%, decreasing by 636.39 points to 14464.74.
Sterling had another mixed day, rising 0.76% against the euro to €1.13 and slipping 0.19% against the US Dollar to $1,23.
Food delivery service Ocado Group was the highest climber, adding 8.98% to 1,329.50p. British American Tobacco had another good day, rising 3.53% to 2,856.50.
Stocks fall around the world
In America, stocks fell as President Donald Trump completed his U-turn by explaining to the public that the coronavirus is rampant in the States and the next two weeks would be ‘painful’.
Trump told the media that America faced a ‘matter of life and death’ and that the number of deaths could reach as high as 200,000.
At lunch in New York, the Dow Jones was 3.19% down, dropping 699.26 points to 21217.90, the NASDAQ fell 2.72%, losing 209.06 points to 7491.04.
In Chicago, the S&P 500 was also down – by 3.46% or 89.44 points to 2495.15.
Earlier, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng closed 2.19% down at 23085.31 and the Nikkei in Tokyo collapsed 4.5% to 18065.41.