Market Report: FTSE lacks direction as fears of new strain of coronavirus dominates mood

FTSE 100 is being tipped for a third day of losses as London headed into Tier-3 amid reports of a new strain of coronavirus. Around 1,000 cases of the new strain of Coronavirus have been identified said Health Secretary Matt Hancock. Treasury Secretary Steve Barclay, meanwhile, advised people to ‘do the minimum’ when visiting family over Christmas due to the rising infections. London, most of Essex and parts of Hertfordshire will join tier three tomorrow.

Shaftesbury PLC (LON:SHB), which owns  much of Chinatown and London’s West End, plunged into the red after a £700mln property write-down. COVID-19 restrictions mean it is only collecting around 50% of its rents.

Purplebricks Group PLC by contrast. expects underlying half-year profits to be “comfortably ahead” of market forecasts thanks to a rush of new customers. New instructions have risen by 20% in the past fast five months.

Also confident is JD Sports Fashion PLC (LON:JD.), which has splashed out US$681mln to acquire Shoe Palace a 167-strong chain of sneaker stores on the US West Coast. Among the small caps.

SourceBio International plc (LON:SBI), is expanding its presence in the coronavirus (COVID-19) testing market through a partnership with Oxford Nanopore Technologies, which will provide its LamPORE testing kits and SourceBio the lab facilities.

Greatland Gold PLC (LON:GGP) has appointed Shaun Day as its new chief executive to replace Gervaise Heddle, who is leaving to follow other interests. Day will join the board next February with Heddle to remain a part of the executive team until March.

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