By Barbara Kollmeyer, MarketWatch
AFP via Getty Images
U.K. stocks gave up a stronger lead at the start of Monday to struggle into the afternoon, with the downside led by oil companies as crude prices fell sharply.
After last week’s nearly 1% drop, the FTSE 100 index /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX +1.15% was flat at 5,784.20, while the British pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD +0.3203% dropped 0.4% to $1.2447.
“The index is starting to look pretty rangebound after rallying hard off the lows. Direction will start to come as we get a clearer estimate of the economic damage, how quick the recover is and whether the stimulus efforts have prevented a 1930s-like depression,” said Neil Wilson, chief market analyst at Markets.com.
Monday saw most global equities take a step back, with U.S. equities down over 1% in early trading as investors weighed up economic restarts in some countries and oil prices took another dive lower.
U.S. crude for May delivery /zigman2/quotes/211629951/delayed CL.1 +2.65% slid 40% to $10.93 a barrel, a decline that if it holds, would mark the biggest single-session drop in history. That contract expires Tuesday, and the most-active June slid 9% to $22.78 a barrel, while Brent crude for June delivery , fell 5% to $26.80 a barrel. At issue is a glut of production, with dwindling storage possibilities and demand that’s been crushed by the coronavirus shutdown.
Shares of BP PLC /zigman2/quotes/202286639/delayed UK:BP +1.70% fell nearly 1%. Mining companies were also lower in the commodity space with BHP PLC /zigman2/quotes/203323256/delayed UK:BHP -1.29% down 1% and Anglo American PLC /zigman2/quotes/201381512/delayed UK:AAL +0.49% dropping 2%.
Airlines and retailers were also under some pressure, with easyJet PLC /zigman2/quotes/202825892/delayed UK:EZJ +0.90% down 3.6%, International Consolidated Airlines Group PLC /zigman2/quotes/208070069/delayed UK:IAG +2.61% sliding nearly 4%, while J. Sainsbury PLC /zigman2/quotes/206038250/delayed UK:SBRY -0.08% fell 3% and Tesco PLC /zigman2/quotes/203761082/delayed UK:TSCO +1.56% was down nearly 2%.