May 14, 2020 / 7:17 AM / 12 days ago

London stocks slide as recession worries grow

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* FTSE 100 down 1.3%, FTSE 250 off 0.9%

May 14 (Reuters) - London’s FTSE 100 fell for a second straight day on Thursday as investors worried that a recovery from a coronavirus-led economic slump would be slower than expected even as several hard-hit countries started easing lockdowns.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 was down 1.3% in early trading, with battered energy and travel and leisure stocks leading declines. The mid-cap FTSE 250 shed 0.9%.

Insurance stocks fell 1.1% after Lloyd’s of London said it was likely to pay up to $4.3 billion in claims related to the COVID-19 pandemic, while underwriting and investment losses for the global non-life insurance sector could reach a record $203 billion.

The two main UK stock indexes have now given up all the gains made this month as hopes of a speedy revival in business activity were dashed after U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell warned of an “extended period” of weak economic growth.

With the UK starting to ease some restrictions, housebuilder Persimmon said it had restarted 65% of its construction work and was reopening sales offices on May 15.

However, its shares fell 2.5% along with the wider housebuilding index as surveys suggested British house prices would only recover to their pre-lockdown levels in 11 months’ time. (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva)

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