FTSE 100 Live: Shares and oil prices slide on new Covid-19 variant

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Oil prices have fallen sharply after the discovery of a new and more permeable version of COVID-19.

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The Nikkei 225 closed 2.5% lower and the FTSE 100 index is set to fall more than 100 points, with airlines and other holiday stocks leading.

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The alarm over the variant known as B.1.1529 prompted a flight to the US dollar, with Brent crude futures down more than 2% at $80 a barrel.

live update

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FTSE 100 down 120 points

Oil prices and stocks fell sharply in Asia amid concerns over the discovery of a new and more permeable version of COVID-19.

The Nikkei in Tokyo fell 2.5% and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong fell to its lowest level in nearly two months. Fears of a possible impact on economic demand meant Brent crude futures fell 2.5% to around $80 a barrel.

Markets in Europe are expected to see a sharp drop, especially after a week of speculation about additional restrictions to tackle the current strains of the virus.

CMC Markets expects FTSE 100 index to open 120 points lower at 7190. Its chief market analyst Michael Hewson said thinner levels of liquidity as a result of the US Thanksgiving holiday may have affected the scale of the response in Asia.

However, Oanda’s Jeffrey Haley said: “Considering the delta wave from earlier this year, investors are likely to shoot first and ask questions later until more is known about it.

“Viruses don’t mutate to be less effective, so assuming the worst is probably the safest option for now. The return of US markets this afternoon, mostly to a half-day session, is unlikely to change that narrative before the weekend.” Is. “

Holiday-focused stocks will bear the brunt of today’s sell-off, after gaining ground last session after nearly 3% gains for hotel chains Whitbread and IHG.

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