Insurers, oil majors put FTSE 100 on track for weekly losses


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FTSE 100 down 1.2%, FTSE 250 drops 1.1%

April 3 (Reuters) - UK's FTSE 100 fell on Friday as oil stocks retreated after a strong showing in the previous session, while insurers tumbled after their European Union counterparts were asked to suspend dividend payments to weather the economic hit from the coronavirus crisis.

The blue-chip index .FTSE fell 1.2% by 0817 GMT, with shares in Legal & General LGEN.L, Aviva AV.L and Prudential PRU.L falling between 2.6% and 6% after the EU regulator asked insurers and reinsurers to temporarily suspend dividends and share buybacks.

Shares in BP BP.L and Royal Dutch Shell RDSa.L fell about 3%, with oil prices flat amid doubts over whether a deal to call off the Saudi-Russian price war would go ahead if the U.S. does not scale back output. [O/R]

The domestically focused midcap index .FTMC dropped 1.1%. Both the major indexes are on course to log weekly losses as data from across the world confirmed investor fears of a sharp economic slump driven by the pandemic.

After Thursday's numbers showed another record surge in U.S. weekly jobless claims, investors are now waiting for data on European services sector activity for March.

Defence company BAE Systems BAES.L dropped 2.1% on deferring a decision on whether to pay its dividend and said it had launched cost control measures after seeing significant disruption.

(Reporting by Devik Jain and Sruthi Shankar in Bengaluru, Bernard Orr)

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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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