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UPDATE 2-UK mid-caps fall as new COVID restrictions hit pubs, restaurants

Wed, 9th Sep 2020 09:59

(For a live blog on European stocks, type LIVE/ in an Eikon
news window)

* AstraZeneca pauses trials of coronavirus vaccine

* England to ban gatherings of more than six people

* No-deal Brexit fears send pound to six-week low

* FTSE 100 up 1.0%, FTSE 250 off 0.5%
(Updates prices, adds movement of bars and pubs)

By Shashank Nayar

Sept 9 (Reuters) - London's mid-cap equities index slipped
for a second straight day on Wednesday as British Prime Minister
Boris Johnson geared up to announce new restrictions on social
gatherings in England to tackle a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Pub and restaurant owners including J D Wetherspoon Plc
, Marston's Plc and Restaurant Group Plc
fell between 2.5% and 7.9% as Johnson prepared to ban groups of
more than six people from meeting.

The mid-cap FTSE 250 index slipped 0.5%, widely
underperforming a 0.7% jump in European stock markets, while the
domestic travel and leisure index lost 2.0%.

"The new social restrictions have led to some panic selling,
especially in some restaurant and pub stocks, with the
possibility of further downfall if more Draconian restrictions
are imposed," said Keith Temperton, a sales trader at Forte
Securities.

Meanwhile, export-heavy firms propped up the blue-chip FTSE
100 as the pound slid to a six-week low after new UK
legislation on post-Brexit plans stoked fears of a derailment of
trade talks with the European Union.

Gains on the index were limited as AstraZeneca Plc's
1.5% decline weighed after the company said an unexplained
illness in a study participant had led it to pause global trials
of its experimental coronavirus vaccine.

Hopes for vaccines and treatments to address the pandemic
have helped lift global equity benchmarks after a crash earlier
this year.

The FTSE 100 has gained nearly 19% from its March lows as
Britain lifted a nationwide lockdown, but the export-heavy index
is still about 23% below its pre-pandemic highs as surging
COVID-19 cases threaten a nascent business recovery.

In company news, shares in Britain's biggest domestic bank
Lloyds edged lower as it said it was making 865
redundancies, with lenders resuming cost-cutting measures to
ride out the impact of the pandemic.
(Reporting by Shashank Nayar in Bengaluru; Editing by Saumyadeb
Chakrabarty and Mark Potter)

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