FTSE 100 set for fresh falls amid grim realities of coronavirus pandemic mutation and possibility of a no-deal Brexit

The FTSE 100 index looks set to extend the previous session’s sharp falls in early trading on Tuesday as any thought of the Christmas festivities ahead remain subsumed within the grim realities of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic mutation and the possibility of a no-deal Brexit.

The blue chip index is expected to open around 24 points lower at 6.3912, after falling 112.86 points on Monday to close at 6,416.32.

Wall Street stocks were mixed overnight, with the Dow Jones Industrials Average managing to end marginally higher, up 37.40 points, or 0.1% at 30,216.45 after the US Congress on Monday approved a long-awaited $892bn coronavirus aid package.

But the broader S&P 500 index shed 0.3%, while the tech-laden Nasdaq Composite lost 0.1%, and US Dow futures were heading lower on Tuesday.

The weakness continued in Asian markets early on Tuesday, with Japan’s Nikkei 225 index dropping 1.2% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index down 0.8%.

Markets were running scared amid fears that a highly infectious new strain of COVID-19 hitting Britain and tightening lockdowns could lead to a slower global economic recovery.

This will be contrasted today with the release of the final readings for third-quarter UK and US gross domestic product (GDP) growth, which are both expected to confirm strong initial readings.

For the UK, this means the bounce back expansion of 15.5% for the three months to September from a 19.8% contraction in the previous quarter is likely to remain the same, while for the US this figure is expected to be confirmed at the record-breaking 33.1% growth figure in the third quarter, a rebound from a record plunge of 31.4% in the second quarter.

There is nothing scheduled on the corporate diary to help lift the gloom as the count-down to Christmas saps interest.

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