CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-London shares dip as global COVID-19 deaths cross half a million

  • Reuters
CORRECTED-UPDATE 1-London shares dip as global COVID-19 deaths cross half a million
Credit: © Reuters.

(Corrects to "January high" from "January record high" in paragraph 6)

* Personal goods and food & beverage stocks lead declines

* British Q2 private-sector activity posts record plunge

* Lender Morses Club falls as online accounts frozen

* Energean jumps on cutting 2020 capex forecast

* FTSE 100 down 0.3%, FTSE 250 off 0.5%

By Shashank Nayar and Sagarika Jaisinghani

June 29 (Reuters) - London shares retreated on Monday as investors feared a second round of lockdowns with global COVID-19 deaths crossing half a million, while a record plunge in British private-sector activity underlined the economic toll of the pandemic.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 .FTSE fell 0.3%, extending declines from last week, as the surge in cases of the novel coronavirus erased investor optimism around a faster economic rebound.

The mid-cap FTSE 250 .FTMC shed 0.5%, led by personal goods .FTNMX3760 , food and beverage .FTNMX5330 .FTNMX3530 and banking .FTNMX8350 stocks.

"With COVID-19 filling the airwaves, investors have been uncomfortable chasing the market higher, and with the central banks fully priced in, they will be quick to take profit on upticks," said Stephen Innes, markets strategist at AxiCorp.

UK stocks have staged a strong rebound in the past three months following a coronavirus-driven crash in March, and are on track for one of their best quarters since the global financial crisis, boosted in part by historic global stimulus.

But the pace of gains has slowed this month, with the FTSE 100 still about 20% away from its January high, as macroeconomic data highlights the extent of the economic damage from a nationwide lockdown imposed to contain the disease.

Data on Sunday showed British private-sector economic activity fell at a record pace in the three months to June, while Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday the health crisis had been a disaster for the UK. individual stocks, lender Morses Club MCLM.L fell 4.1% as online accounts provided by it were frozen following action by British regulators against the UK unit of payments services firm Wirecard WDIG.DE . Energean Oil & Gas ENOG.L jumped 11.2% to the top of the FTSE 250 as it reduced its capital expenditure forecast for 2020 to between $760 million and $780 million from $840 million.

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