London Markets: FTSE 100 slumps below 5,000 as U.K. airlines tumble

Associated Press
British Airways planes are parked at Heathrow Airport in London.

British stocks slumped on Monday as the widening spread of coronavirus blasted the airline sector in particular.

The U.K., so far, wasn’t joining the world-wide move toward closures though it is still feeling the impact, with at least 35 fatalities. The U.S. over the weekend expanded a travel ban to the U.K. and Ireland, as several European countries brought their economies to a near-standstill.

The FTSE 100 UKX, -7.01% fell over 7% to retreat below the 5,000 level, and has dropped by 33% over the last month. The move by the U.S. Federal Reserve to cut interest rates to nearly zero and buy $700 billion of fixed-income securities did little to calm investors.

TUI TUI, -34.33%, the London-listed tourism company, dropped 32% after it said it was halting most of its operations.

International Consolidated Airlines Group IAG, -24.24%, which delayed an executive handover and said it would cut capacity in April and May by 75%, fell 23%.

Shares in easyJet EZJ, -17.18%, which doesn’t fly across the Atlantic, dropped 19%.

Associated British Foods ABF, -12.26% said stores representing 30% of its Primark sales have halted, though its sugar, grocery, ingredients and agriculture businesses haven’t been materially affected. ABF shares dropped over 12%.