Stocks rise on European markets as coronavirus curbs start to ease
Stocks headed higher on Tuesday as several European countries started to ease lockdown restrictions and investors welcomed promising Chinese factory data.
It follows a slight easing of curbs on economic activity in parts of Europe, which are being closely scrutinised by other governments weighing up similar moves. Thousands of shops are reopening in Austria on Tuesday, while Spain let some sectors including in construction and manufacturing resume work on Monday as its death toll continued to fall.
In London the FTSE (^FTSE) edged lower, dragged down by renewed concerns over the economic impact from the coronavirus pandemic and negative company news.
A survey from the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) said that financial firms expected demand, profitability and employment to decline sharply in the coming months. Meanwhile, Britain’s finance minister is reported to have warned colleagues the economy could shrink by up to 30% this quarter.
Europe mainly followed similar gains in Asia. China’s SSE composite index (000001.SS) was up 1.6%, and Japan’s Nikkei (^N225) leapt 3.1%. MSCI’s index of Asia-Pacific shares, excluding Japan, hit a one-month high.
Customs data in China showed overseas shipments were down only 6.6% year-on-year in March, compared to a 17.2% slide a month earlier, according to Reuters.
Futures were also pointing to a higher open for US stocks on Wednesday. S&P 500 futures (ES=F) were trading 1.2% higher, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures (YM=F) were up 1.3% and Nasdaq futures (NQ=F) rose 1.4%.