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FTSE 100 tumbles on HSBC cutbacks, Apple warning

Published Feb 18, 2020 17:01
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By Shashwat Awasthi and Muvija M

(Reuters) - London's FTSE 100 slid to a two-week low on Tuesday, weighed down by a near 7% drop in financial heavyweight HSBC as traders sold stocks globally on the back of a earnings warning from tech giant Apple (O:AAPL) due to the coronavirus epidemic.

The main index (FTSE) shed 0.9%, with HSBC dragging a sub-index of banks (FTNMX8350) over 4% lower after its annual profit declined and it laid out plans for a major strategic overhaul that included 35,000 job cuts and the halting of share buybacks.

"We are concerned by the precedent perhaps being set by HSBC of suspending buybacks, a big source of upward pressure on stock prices," London Capital Group analyst Jasper Lawler said.

The more domestically-focussed FTSE 250 (FTMC) gave up 0.7% but still fared better than its blue-chip counterpart, which was hurt more due to a larger exposure to commodity prices which are under pressure over concerns of demand. [O/R]

Global market participants poured money into perceived safe havens including gold after the signals from Apple, the world's most valuable technology firm, that sales would be hurt by the coronavirus outbreak. That underlined the economic impact of the outbreak, which has begun to emerge in more concrete financial declarations from companies in the past few days.

Europe's index of tech stocks fell 1% (SX8P) On the back of Apple's statement.

"When the world's largest company sneezes, everyone else is likely to catch a cold," OANDA analyst Jeffrey Halley said.

The losses followed modest rises in the previous session when China introduced more stimulus measures to shore up its economy and as many investors were observing a U.S. holiday.

Holiday Inn-owner InterContinental Hotels (L:IHG) outshined, though, gaining 1.6% despite it saying it would take a hit from the virus after a fall in revenue per room due to the impact of the past year's protests in Hong Kong.

Utilities Severn Trent (L:SVT) and United Utilities (L:UU) also outperformed the broader market, climbing about 2% each after JPMorgan (NYSE:JPM) sounded bullish on the sector following a recent price control published by Britain's water regulator.

NMC Health (L:NMC) advanced for the second straight session climbing 5.4%, a day after its founder BR Shetty resigned as co-chairman of the healthcare company amid doubts about the shareholdings of its major investors. The company is still worth less than half of what it was three months ago.

But AIM-listed engineering firm Tekmar (L:TGPT) sank 25% after it warned results would now be worse than previously thought thanks to a halt in shipments to and from China.

FTSE 100 tumbles on HSBC cutbacks, Apple warning
 

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