Dragged down by losses in real-estate and travel stocks, the blue-chip FTSE 100 index <.FTSE> was down 1.9%. The domestically-focussed mid-cap FTSE 250 index <.FTMC> slid 1.5% to a more than three-week low as banks <.FTNMX8350>, industrials <.FTNMX2720> and retailers <.FTNMX5370> declined. A media report said Prime Minister Boris Johnson was being put under pressure for a new lockdown with the government working on the assumption the second wave of the coronavirus will be more deadly than the first.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index <.STOXX> fell 1% to a one-month low, on rising infections in the United States and Europe and fading hopes of a U.S. stimulus package before the presidential election. Focus will now be on Thursday's meeting of the European Central Bank for clues on monetary stimulus for the bloc. German Chancellor Angela Merkel is planning a "lockdown light" in Europe's largest economy that would mainly focus on the closure of bars and restaurants to slow down a second wave of infections, newspaper Bild reported.
Breaking a four-day losing streak, the pan-European STOXX 600 index <.STOXX> advanced 0.6%, with London's FTSE 100 <.FTSE> outperforming its European peers after Barclays <BARC.L> jumped 7% on strong results. "Better than expected results from Barclays triggered renewed interest in banking shares, most of which are trading on depressed levels so value investors will be particularly interested," said Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell. "Opposite forces are in play at the moment," said Emmanuel Cau, head of European equity strategy at Barclays.