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Markets nervous as Covid-19 cases keep rising – business live


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8.48am BST

The re-imposition of restrictions in Texas, Florida and Arizona is the main talking point in the City this morning, alongside the sobering news that the official Covid-19 death toll has hit 500,000.

As Mohit Kumar of Jefferies told clients:

Covid-19 cases crossed the 10 million mark, with the number of fatalities crossing 500K. The number of cases in the US remains a concern, particularly in the Southern states where the rise in the number of cases is forcing some states to re-instate lockdown restrictions.

Market sentiment was subdued on Friday and into today’s morning open as the market wakes to a continuing momentum in the number of virus cases.

“These latest virus developments, in our view, can potentially slow the recovery, but are unlikely to derail it. With virus cases still rising in a number of US states, a more volatile trial-and-error approach to reopening now appears more likely, but we expect any new restrictions to be localized.”

The market’s attention has moved squarely to the US’s second wave of COVID-19 infections. It was risk-off on Friday in global financial markets, as official data continued to show the COVID-19 caseload in several economically significant states is ramping up. The daily growth in cases across the US leapt to 1.7 per cent, with the virus curves in Texas, Florida, Arizona and California taking-on an exponential shape.

Perhaps of greatest concern to market participants, the new spike in infections has forced policymakers into action, with Texas and Florida announced a ban on drinking in bars on Friday.

8.23am BST

The London stock market has made a cautious start to the new week.

The FTSE 100 index of blue-chip shares has gained 7 points, or 0.1%, to 6167.

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