The FTSE 100 is down by over 1% at Tuesday lunchtime, falling well below 7,000 after mixed trading in Asia and a fall in the US as tech stocks slumped.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said the move spoke to uncertain sentiment around markets from investors.
“Investors seem to be struggling to make up their minds on where we are with the Covid-19 pandemic, unsurprisingly as this is a global picture with plenty of moving parts,” Mould said.
“The markets are bouncing from reopening optimism to concerns over mounting infections in parts of the world as the rollout of vaccines proves patchy.”
FTSE 100 Top Movers
Avast (4.25%), Weir Group (0.99%) and Fresnillo (1.03%) are the top movers on the FTSE 100 at midday.
At the bottom end, Imperial Brands (-7.05%), British American Tobacco (-6.89%) and IAG (-4.41%) are the top fallers on the UK index.
Primark confirmed on Tuesday that its operating profit fell by 90% to £43m in H2 as the budget fashion brand raised its estimate for the volume of sales that will be lost due to trading restrictions in the second half of the current year.
Associated British Foods (LON:ABF), Primark’s parent company, said in its trading statement that while many stores in the UK have set trading records since returning to business on April 12, trading across the continent has been mixed.
Britain’s unemployment rate dropped for the second consecutive month to 4.9% from December to February, a period in which most of the company remained locked down. This is according to figures revealed by the ONS on Tuesday. According to poll of economists by Reuters, the jobless rate was supposed to go up to 5.1% from 5% in the three months leading up to January.
“The drop in UK unemployment below 5% in the three months to February suggests the job retention scheme is doing its job, though beneath the surface more up to date indicators suggest a less happy picture with 56,000 fewer people on company payroll in March,” Mould said.