Boris's lockdown batters the stock market with BA and Wetherspoons hit

Boris’s lockdown batters the stock market with shares in BA and Wetherspoons among those nose-diving ahead of enforced closure – but firms like Just Eat and Ocado SURGE ahead of expected business increase

  • Business leaders warned of the economic damage from the second lockdown
  •  Airlines, pubs and non-essential retail are set to be put back into a deep freeze
  • But investors anticipated increase in sales for online food delivery and DIY firms 

Boris Johnson’s new lockdown plan sent shares in retail and leisure firms plummeting today as the stock market reacted to his hastily released plans. 

British Airways owner IAG, Wetherspoons, Cineworld, JD Sports, EasyJet and pub and restaurant owner Mitchells and Butlers all saw heavy falls in their share price this morning.

Airlines, pubs and non-essential retail are set to be put back into a deep freeze for at least four weeks from Thursday.

But there were also winners from the plans to shut all non-essential retailers until December 2.

Ocado, Just Eat Takeaway, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and B&Q owner Kingfisher all saw a boost in shares as investors anticipated an increase in sales for online food delivery and DIY businesses.

Ocado announced profits will now be higher than previously thought – sending shares up nearly 8 per cent within an hour of the stock market’s 8am opening.

The heavy falls for retailers, pubs and restaurant groups who will be forced to close their doors come as business leaders warned of the economic damage from the second lockdown announcement. 

The head of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) this morning condemned the way the Government has handled major announcements such as the lockdown. 

CBI director-general Dame Carolyn Fairbairn said firms could not act on the basis of ‘speculation and leaks and surmise’, demanded more clarity on the Government’s strategy and called for ministers to improve the coronavirus testing system.

British Airways owner IAG, Wetherspoons, Cineworld, JD Sports, EasyJet and pub and restaurant owner Mitchells and Butlers all saw heavy falls in their share price this morning

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson pulled out of an appearance at the group’s annual conference today.

The new rules mean all non-essential retail must close, including clothing and electronic stores, car showrooms, travel agents, betting shops and car washes.

Cinemas, hairdressers, bowling alleys, leisure centres, gyms, swimming pools, zoos and tattoo parlours – among others – must also close in England.

Restaurants, bars and pubs must close, but can still provide takeaway and delivery services – although takeaway of alcohol will not be allowed.

Hotels, hostels and other accommodation should only open for those who have to travel for work purposes and for a limited number of other exemptions which will be set out in law.

Many firms have also complained that the one-month furlough extension did not do enough to provide longer-term support or guidance to allow for suitable planning.

British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) director general Adam Marshall said: ‘There’s no getting around the fact that these new restrictions will be a devastating blow to business communities who have done everything in their power to adapt and operate safely.

CBI director-general Dame Carolyn Fairbairn said firms could not act on the basis of ‘speculation and leaks and surmise’, demanded more clarity on the Government’s strategy and called for ministers to improve the coronavirus testing system

‘Business and market confidence have been hit hard by the unclear, stop-start approach taken by governments across the UK over the past eight months, with little end in sight.

‘Many firms are in a much weaker position now than at the start of the pandemic, making it far more challenging to survive extended closures or demand restrictions.

‘The temporary extension of the furlough scheme will bring short-term relief to many firms, and responds to chambers’ call for business support to be commensurate with the scale of the restrictions imposed.

‘The full financial support package for businesses facing hardship, whether through loss of demand or closure, must immediately be clarified and communicated.

‘Sustained help must be available to employers, to the self-employed and to the many businesses and individuals that have not been able to access any of the Government’s schemes to date.’

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