WEDNESDAY MARKET CLOSE: Ebola fears hit travel stocks

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Fears over the deadly Ebola virus reaching Europe sent the London market lower for a second day running, with travel firms among the hardest hit.

The tourism sector also felt the impact of a profit warning from Air France-KLM, which said a two-week pilots’ strike last month would cost it €500 million (£395m).

British Airways’ parent company International Airlines Group, which also owns Spain’s Iberia and Vueling, fell 2.3p to 343.3p, while low-cost rival EasyJet eased 11p to 1,378p, but Tui Travel suffered an even steeper decline of 15p, or 3.9 per cent, to end at 367p.

Tony Cross market analyst at Trustnet Direct, said: “Global growth fears, Ebola concerns and the threat from IS to peace in the Middle East and so close to Europe’s borders was enough to send the FTSE 100 lower again.

“Those are the excuses being peddled by traders, but this might just be chickens coming home to roost for equity markets, which have felt the benefit of central banks’ easy monetary policy in recent years. The fact is while markets have risen, so too have valuations, but revenues and profits at the corporate level have continued to struggle.”

Aberdeen-based FirstGroup was another heavy faller, closing down 4.9 per cent at 109.5p after being told Dutch rival Abellio has won its ScotRail franchise.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 Index ended the session down 13.34 points at 6,482.24. It is now close to its low for the year – just a month after standing on the brink of an all-time high. There were steeper declines on Germany’s Dax and France’s Cac 40, each down about 1 per cent.

Away from the travel industry, oil services group Petrofac rose 13p to 975p despite analysts at Liberum cutting their price target from 1,223p to 1,112p, while renewable energy specialist Infinis jumped 11.5p, or 5.1 per cent, to ended the day’s trading session at 236.5p.