FTSE slides on dire US figures

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UK stocks fell even further in afternoon trading on Thursday as figures showed the US economy shrank 32.9% between April and June.

The fall marks the largest collapse in the world's biggest economy since the Great Depression of the 1930s, as the economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic begin to become clear.

All the main US indices opened in the red, and across the pond it was no different as the FTSE 100 continued its decline.

The UK's benchmark index closed 2.31% lower, falling back below the 6,000 mark for the first time in a few months to close at 5,989.99.

Lloyds Banking tumbled 7.62% to 26.2p on the news it swung to a loss in the first half of the year after setting aside £3.8bn to protect against a potential wave of loan losses and warned the outlook remained highly uncertain.

For the six months ended 30 June, the company reported a pre-tax loss of £602m compared with a profit of £2.9bn year-on-year.

Royal Dutch Shell dropped 5.72% to £11.13 despite reporting better than expected second quarter numbers. Analysts had forecast a loss but the oil producer achieved positive earnings.

BAE Systems was buoyed 5.9% to 505p despite the defence company warning that earnings would be lower than last year after reporting a fall in profit in the first half of the year. Investors were perhaps more pleased that the company 6resumed its dividend payments.

Rentokil Initial bounced 1.6% to 557.1p after it announced first-half revenue from disinfection services of £49m and said ongoing revenue climbed 1% to £1.3bn despite the crisis.

Anglo American fell 4.57% to £18.83 as the mining giant more than halved its interim dividend after reporting a slump in profit as coronavirus-led disruptions hurt production.

Mining group Evraz lost 3.7% to 288.7p as it warned of uncertainty around production and sales owing to turmoil in the oil and gas markets.

RSA Insurance headed 4.2% lower to 420p despite the group achieving a first-half record for underwriting performance which saw growth in profits of 33%. Statutory results at the insurer were hit by Covid-19 financial market impacts.

Man Group dipped 2.1% to 122.95p after it reported a fall in first-half funds under management as negative investment performance and net fund outflows weighed on results.

For the six months ended 30 June, pre-tax profit halved to $55m on-year as funds under management fell 8% to $108.3bn from 31 December.