FTSE 100: Why is the FTSE 100 down today? FTSE 100 price and oil price today as Covid fears cause stock slide

The Financial Times Stock Exchange, also known as FTSE 100 index, plunged to a recent low on Friday 26 November as new Covid variant fears shook markets worldwide.

FTSE 100: Why is the FTSE 100 down today? FTSE 100 price and oil price today as Covid fears cause stock slide (Image credit: Getty Images via Canva Pro)

The FTSE 100, the UK’s leading stock index, plunged by 3.5% soon after opening this morning (26 November) as concerns over the emergence of a new Covid variant in South Africa have taken hold.

Opening at last night’s close of 7,310.37, FTSE 100 price toppled in the first ten minutes of trading to 7,075.13 before hitting an open low today of 7,051.59 at 8.23am.

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The 3% dip on the FTSE represents a one month low price for the index and one of the sharpest drops seen this year – with up to 300 points and £65 billion wiped from the UK stock index as Bitcoin’s price and the cryptocurrency market trade down.

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Here’s why the FTSE 100 is down today and whether we can expect the stock market to crash as countries across the world close their borders to African countries following increased coronavirus fears.

What is the FTSE Index?

The Financial Times Stock Exchange, also known as the FTSE 100, FTSE Index or ‘Footsie’, is the UK’s leading share index, representing the top 100 blue chip busines companies listed on the London Stock Exchange according to their market capitalisation.

It includes major British companies like Barclays bank, Lloyds Banking Group, Burberry, BP, BAE and AstraZeneca.

Maintained by the London Stock Exchange Group, the FTSE is typically viewed as an indicator of overall economic and market performance in the UK – with its rise or fall in shares generally representing UK market trends on the whole.

Why is FTSE down today?

The FTSE tumble comes as oil prices fall as a result of fears over the rise of a new Covid variant in South Africa take hold.

As UK Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said that the UK Government and countries across Europe would be taking swift action out of concern that the new, highly mutated B.1.1.529 variant could “defeat the vaccine”.

Speaking to BBC Breakfast on Friday morning, Mr Shapps said ministers had acted "extremely fast" to ensure a "safety-first approach" to travel changes following an emergency meeting with chief medical officers.

The impact has already been felt by UK travel and oil companies, with the International Consolidated Airlines group (IAG) holdings, owner of British Airways, Aer Lingus, Vueling and more airlines, currently trading down by 13.54% with a 20 point fall on the last 24 hours as of 3.18pm.

IAG’s stock price closed at 154.32 on 25 November, but opened more than 30 points down at 122.50 at 8am on the FTSE 100 this morning.

Likewise, banks, manufacturers, hotel chain owners and hospitality companies were the biggest fallers on the UK share index on Friday.

The FTSE stock index has fallen alongside many other markets around the world, with the Dow Jones on Wall Street in the US also down 909 points (2.56%) as of 3.30pm today as Covid fears increase in the country following the reopening of its borders to high risk countries in November.

Who are the biggest losers on FTSE 100 today?

Alongside IAG’s share price plummet on the FTSE 100 on Friday, Rolls-Royce Holdings Plc was also trading down 10.35% today along with Lloyds Banking Group at -7.99%, Standard Chartered Plc down 8.32% and manufacturing company owner Melrose Industries at -8.24% as of 3.28pm.

Hospitality companies were also hit hard, with Premier Inn owner Whitbread Plc down 7.43% today alongside the Intercontinental Hotels Group, down 7.91%, and foodservice company Compass Group trading down 7.26%.

What is the oil price today?

Oil is trading down by roughly 6% today in a two month low for the commodity.

On the New York Merchantile Exchange (NYMEX), West Texas Intermediate oil prices were trading down 8.98% at $71.29 per barrel as of 3.44pm on Friday afternoon UK time.

Brent crude oil was meanwhile fluctuating at around $75.52 a barrel at 3.45pm this afternoon, trading down by more than 8% on the last 24 hours.

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