May 13, 2020 / 7:16 AM / 24 days ago

London stocks hammered as GDP shrinks, retail sales plunge

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* FTSE 100, FTSE 250 down 1%

May 13 (Reuters) - UK stock markets fell on Wednesday as data showed a nationwide shutdown crushed retail sales in April, while the economy shrank by a record 5.8% in March in further evidence of the business damage caused by the novel coronavirus outbreak.

The retail index tumbled 1.2% after surveys showed British retail spending plunged by nearly a fifth and a broader measure of consumer spending fell by more than a third in April.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 was down 1%, snapping a five-day winning streak and wiping out most of the gains it made this month on hopes that an easing in restrictions would revive business activity.

The mid-cap FTSE 250 also shed 1%, with travel stocks plummeting again after a warning from European travel company TUI about thousands of job cuts to ride out a virtual halt in global travel.

Oil and gas producer Premier Oil slumped 6.2% after saying it expects to be free cash flow neutral this year following a crash in oil prices. (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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