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FTSE 100 falls into the red as shops reopen across England

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LaToya Harding
·Contributor
·3-min read
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Customers queue to enter as retail store Primark in Birmingham, Britain reopens its doors after a third lockdown imposed in early January due to the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, April 12, 2021. REUTERS/Carl Recine
Today marks the first day in months that non-essential retailers and outdoor hospitality venues have been allowed to reopen in England and Wales, including indoor leisure facilities such as gyms, hairdressers, pubs and restaurants and zoos and theme parks. Photo: REUTERS/Carl Recine

European stock markets were mixed on Monday as England's economy entered its second phase of prime minister Boris Johnson’s roadmap out of lockdown.

In London, the FTSE 100 (^FTSE) closed 0.39% lower, underperforming against its peers, while the French CAC (^FCHI) rose 0.04% and the German DAX (^GDAXI) was 0.02% higher.

Today marks the first day in months that non-essential retailers and outdoor hospitality venues have been allowed to reopen in England and Wales, including indoor leisure facilities such as gyms, hairdressers, pubs and restaurants and zoos and theme parks.

Outside, six people or two households can meet and weddings and funerals can have up to 15 and 30 people, respectively. Children will be able to attend any indoor children's activity and care home visitors will increase to two per resident.

Non-essential stores have been shut since 5 January when Johnson announced a third lockdown in England, with similar measures taken across the devolved nations.

The PM reminded people to "behave responsibly," while warnings from scientists over the weekend urged caution amid evidence of virus hotspots in many parts of the country.

READ MORE: Small business confidence rebounds as shops reopen in England and Wales

The easing comes as temperatures have dropped across the country, with some areas seeing sleet and snow.

“The presence of snow in parts of the country was a nasty surprise as retailers and leisure operators opened their doors for the first time in months. They will be hoping the white stuff doesn’t settle and that sunshine quickly brightens the public’s mood,” says Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell.

"While it is possible that we’ll see plenty of people venturing into the shops today, particularly as it provides an excuse to finally get out of the house, retailers need strong footfall to be sustained for more than just a few days otherwise they face more difficult times ahead. It seems inevitable that we haven’t seen the last of the retail sector casualties.”

Across the pond, the S&P 500 (^GSPC) dipped 0.18% and the tech-heavy Nasdaq (^IXIC) fell 0.61%. The Dow Jones (^DJI) edged 0.17% by the European close.

The retreat comes after a third straight week of gains for the S&P 500 Index (^GSPC), with investors bracing for earnings reports.

Connor Campbell of SpreadEx said: "If things go the Dow’s way this week, especially in regard to Monday’s 3-year and 10-year Treasury auctions and Tuesday’s inflation readings, then it could cross 34,000. If not, and fears of rising bond yields and inflationary pressures reignite, then the Dow’s recent gains could quickly unravel."

Asian stocks slipped overnight as traders mulled an uneven global recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and the latest upbeat US outlook from Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell.

Markets in China and Hong Kong lagged while India’s Sensex (^BSESN) slumped to a 10-week low as daily COVID-19 infections spiked.

In Japan, the Nikkei (^N225) fell 0.77%. The Hang Seng (^HSI) fell 0.85% and the Shanghai Composite (000001.SS) dipped 1.09%

“The big thing markets are trying to price currently is what does the world look like with another period of US economic outperformance,” said Kyle Rodda, analyst at IG Markets.

“Europe can’t get its economic or health affairs in order, China doesn’t look like it wants to run its economy too hot.”

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