By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch
U.K. stocks had their worst battering since the financial crisis on Monday, as oil prices crashed in response to the Saudi Arabia-Russia feud over production.
“Not only is weaker economic activity brought on by the coronavirus outbreak exerting downward pressure on prices, but also the fallout amongst OPEC members particularly Saudi Arabia and Russia has fueled increased concerns about excess supply in the oil market. A double whammy for oil prices,” said economists from the Royal Bank of Scotland.
With Brent crude oil prices /zigman2/quotes/209704782/delayed UK:BRN00 +0.05% tumbling 20%, the FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +0.26% lost nearly 7%, taking the benchmark to levels last seen when Britain voted to leave the European Union in 2016.
On the London Stock Exchange, decliners outnumbered advancers 2502 to 195, and declining volume represented 92% of the total.
BP /zigman2/quotes/202286639/delayed UK:BP +3.25% , the oil giant, lost 20%, and Royal Dutch Shell 14%.
The smaller producers suffered most, with Premier Oil down by over 50%, and Tullow Oil /zigman2/quotes/205079109/delayed UK:TLW +4.78% down 24%.
The action outside energy wasn’t much better. Financial adviser Hargreaves Lansdown /zigman2/quotes/201025857/delayed UK:HL -0.53% fell 10% and fund manager Schroders /zigman2/quotes/200207320/delayed UK:SDR +0.35% dropped 9.5%.