After a flurry of optimism in recent sessions, investors were struggling to keep their hopes up about a rapid return to normal life.
Wednesday saw stocks fall across many markets including a 0.6% decline in the FTSE 100 to 5,964, weighed down by weakness in banking, insurance and consumer cyclical stocks.
Hopes about a possible coronavirus vaccine were dampened by a scientific report which cast doubt over Moderna’s drug candidate. Markets had previously rallied on hype around the potential treatment.
European markets fell by up to 1.3% while there was a mixed performance in Asia. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index slipped 0.1% while Japan’s Nikkei index advanced 0.8% thanks to strong gains from the energy and healthcare sectors, with the top riser being a 16% rally from electronics maker Furukawa Electric on reported better than expected results.
“The pound fell 0.15% against the US dollar to $1.2232 while the gold price nudged up 0.2% to $1,747 per ounce,” says Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.