FTSE 100 On Track For Weekly Loss

(RTTNews) - U.K. stocks fell sharply on Friday and remained on track for their fifth weekly decline in six as coronavirus cases continued to rise and a survey of business leaders showed that U.K. manufacturing output and new orders have declined at the fastest rate in eight years in March, due to the pandemic.

The benchmark FTSE 100 was down 65 points, or 1.2 percent, at 5,412 after gaining half a percent the previous day.

Insurer Aviva fell 4.6 percent, Prudential slumped 6 percent and Legal & General Group lost as much as 10 percent after the EU regulator asked insurers and reinsurers to temporarily suspend dividends and share buybacks.

Information services provider Ascential declined 7.4 percent after scrapping its 2019 dividend and saying it was commercially not viable to run the Cannes Lions Festival this year.

Associated British Foods fell over 2 percent. The company said George Weston, Chief Executive, and John Bason, Finance Director, have requested that their base pay be reduced temporarily by 50 percent.

Ryanair Holdings edged down slightly after its group traffic for the month of March declined 48 percent.

Sainsbury rose over 1 percent. The supermarket chain said it will start to remove the customer purchasing limits from Sunday. Previously, the retailer imposed the limits as a response to increased demand during the coronavirus pandemic.

BAE Systems was down 2.6 percent. The defense firm will defer its dividend as it sees significant disruptions from the virus outbreak.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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