(For a live blog on European stocks, type LIVE/ in an Eikon news window)
* FTSE 100 down 1.2%, FTSE 250 drops 2.3%
* UK insurers down after EU asks peers to suspend dividend
* London bus operators gain as government throws lifeline
* BP , Royal Dutch Shell drop despite gaining oil prices
(Updates to market close)
By Sruthi Shankar and Devik Jain
April 3 (Reuters) - Britain's FTSE 100 share index logged its fifth weekly decline in six on Friday, with insurers leading losses after a European Union regulator urged them to halt shareholder payouts, while oil stocks retreated after a recent surge.
The blue-chip index .FTSE closed down 1.2%, and mid-cap shares ended 2.3% lower.
Legal & General LGEN.L , Aviva AV.L and Prudential PRU.L fell by between 3% and 10% after the regulator asked insurers and reinsurers in the EU to suspend dividends and share buybacks, and consider postponing bonuses as a buffer against possible losses due to the coronavirus pandemic. insurers still need to follow EU insurance regulations during the Brexit transition period. Legal & General said it still planned to pay a 2019 dividend. action from the European Central Bank and the Bank of England in relation to bank dividend should have been a warning for insurers," CMC Markets analyst David Madden said. "In this day and age, you want to make sure that you're as liquid as possible."
With many companies announcing freezes or cuts in their payout policies, notably in the banking sector, Barclays (LON: BARC ) on Wednesday forecast that dividend paid by companies listed on the pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX will fall by about 40% this year. FTSE 350 life insurance index .FTNMX8570 is down 40% this year, compared with a 28% drop in the blue-chip index, also amid concerns over potential large claims due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Both the FTSE 100 and the FTSE Mid 250 logged weekly losses as data from across the world confirmed investor fears of a sharp economic slump driven by the outbreak.
A survey showed Britain's services and manufacturing firms suffered a record downturn in March. Thursday's numbers showed another record surge in U.S. weekly jobless claims, investors were less shocked to see the U.S. economy shedding 701,000 jobs in March. in BP BP.L and Royal Dutch Shell RDSa.L fell more than 4%, after rallying on Thursday, although oil prices climbed further on hopes of a huge global supply cut deal between Saudi Arabia and Russia. O/R
Information services provider Ascential ASCL.L tumbled 14.2% as it scrapped its 2019 dividend and said it was commercially not viable to run the Cannes Lions Festival this year. bus operators First Group FGP.L , Go-Ahead Group GOG.L , National Express NEX.L and Stagecoach Group SGC.L gained between 4% and 12% as they welcomed 167 million pounds ($204 million) in aid from the government to keep commuter services running for essential staff. ($1 = 0.8169 pounds)
Add Chart to Comment
We encourage you to use comments to engage with users, share your perspective and ask questions of authors and each other. However, in order to maintain the high level of discourse we’ve all come to value and expect, please keep the following criteria in mind:
- Enrich the conversation
- Stay focused and on track. Only post material that’s relevant to the topic being discussed.
- Be respectful. Even negative opinions can be framed positively and diplomatically.
- Use standard writing style. Include punctuation and upper and lower cases.
- NOTE: Spam and/or promotional messages and links within a comment will be removed
- Avoid profanity, slander or personal attacks directed at an author or another user.
- Don’t Monopolize the Conversation. We appreciate passion and conviction, but we also believe strongly in giving everyone a chance to air their thoughts. Therefore, in addition to civil interaction, we expect commenters to offer their opinions succinctly and thoughtfully, but not so repeatedly that others are annoyed or offended. If we receive complaints about individuals who take over a thread or forum, we reserve the right to ban them from the site, without recourse.
- Only English comments will be allowed.
Perpetrators of spam or abuse will be deleted from the site and prohibited from future registration at Investing.com’s discretion.