Travel firms take another hit from latest Government restrictions

Airlines and travel firms took another battering on the stock market as the fallout from the UK Government’s decision to remove Portugal from its green list of countries hit investors.

No other country was added to the green list for travellers to head to and the sector has reacted with fury over the moves. Investors were also unimpressed, wiping millions off the firms.

The market caps of EasyJet, Ryanair, Wizz Air, IAG and engine maker Rolls-Royce all fell by a combined total of close to £800 million – following falls of £2 billion on Thursday.

Ryanair shares fell 1.3%, losing 0.22 cents to 16.16 euros; IAG lost 0.9%, closing down 1.84p at 196.3p; EasyJet closed down 25.2p, or 2.6%, at 934p; Wizz Air lost 153p, or 3.3%, to 4,533p and Rolls-Royce was down 2.36p, or 2.15%, at 107.32p.

But Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK, pointed out there had been some benefits to other firms.

He said: “With airline stocks still under pressure as a result of yesterday’s changes to the travel traffic light system, the likes of Ocado and Just Eat are amongst the best performers on the basis of expectations of a slower relaxation of restrictions.”

Ocado shares closed up 55.5p at 1,884p and Just Eat Takeaway rose 126p at 6,411p.

The internationally focused FTSE 100 also failed to take much away from the latest US non-farm payroll figures, which ended up a damp squib, helping the market close the day out up just 4.69 points – or 0.07% – at 7069.04.

The German Dax ended up 0.39% and the French Cac up 0.12%.

Currency markets also failed to excite, with the pound flat against the euro and the dollar at 1.164 and 1.417 respectively as markets closed.

In company news, the main moves came in the form of boardroom changes.

AstraZeneca tapped the finance boss from its new 39 billion dollar (£28 billion) subsidiary to take over as chief financial officer.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals’ Aradhana Sarin will take on the role later this year, once the deal between the two companies has completed. Shares closed up 107p at 8,055p.

And mining group Rio Tinto has asked a former Australian state Aboriginal affairs minister to join its board after facing a publicity storm in the country over its destruction of an ancient site.

Ben Wyatt will join the company as a non-executive director on September 1, Rio Tinto said. Shares closed up 47p at 6,219p.

Over on the junior AIM market oil firm Lekoil revealed a bizarre boardroom spat between the board, which wants the chief executive gone, and the boss who is says he is sticking around. Shares plunged 6.15% to 1.525p.

And London-listed virtual reality tech firm VR Education saw shares surge 9.1%, up 1.5p to 18p, as bosses said its software platform Engage has seen strong take-up from multinational companies.

The biggest risers on the FTSE 100 were Ocado, up 55.5p at 1,884p; Renishaw, up 140p at 5,580p; Entain, up 34.5p at 1,733p; Halma, up 52p at 2,640p; and Just Eat Takeaway, up 126p at 6,411p.

The biggest fallers on the index were Rolls-Royce, down 2.36p at 107.32p; ABF, down 47p at 2,299p; Pershing Square, down 50p at 2,560p; Bunzl, down 39p at 2,272p; and Standard Chartered, down 8.5p at 495.9p.