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FTSE 100 tumbles 5% as coronavirus cases rise

FTSE 100 tumbles 5% as coronavirus cases rise

The UK’s blue chip index fell by almost 5 per cent this morning (March 23) as the coronavirus pandemic’s death toll continued to rise.

The FTSE 100 dropped 4.7 per cent since markets opened at 8am, reversing the gains made by the index late last week following Bank of England's historic base rate cut and rescue measures announced by the UK government.

Other markets have also slipped, with Germany’s DAX and the Eurostoxx 50 down 4.2 per cent and 4 per cent respectively.

The market falls came after the US Senate failed to pass a $2bn (£1.69bn) funding package to combat the impact of coronavirus.

The US news also hurt Asian markets overnight. The Hang Seng — Hong Kong’s index — is down 4.8 per cent while Shanghai’s SSE Composite index dropped 3.1 per cent.

However, the Nikkei 225 — the Tokyo index — is up 2 per cent.

The $2bn rescue package failed to get through the Senate when Democrat leaders argued the bill was too corporate-focused, rather than offering a lifeline for households and workers.

The stalemate has knocked the US futures markets, with the S&P 500 futures down 3.5 per cent and the Nasdaq futures dropped almost 3 per cent.

The spreading coronavirus crisis has caused global markets to tumble as governments across the world shut down borders, locked down domestic travel and closed sports, leisure facilities, pubs and restaurants.

Since the start of 2020 the FTSE 100 has fallen by 31 per cent while the S&P 500 has dropped by 29 per cent over the same period. The Euro Stoxx 50 is down 32 per cent.

Volatile market conditions have seen indices suffer their biggest daily dives in more than 30 years this month.

imogen.tew@ft.com

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