Plans To Reboot Economies Boost Stock Markets

Lisa Smith, BA (Hons), CeFA
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Plans for economies rebooting and lifting lockdown restrictions as coronavirus cases and deaths fall have boosted markets.

At the same time, the World Health Organisation cautioned the pandemic is still yet to hit Eastern Europe and countries south of the equator.

Although confidence that many countries have seen the worst of the infection put markets on the front foot, companies are warning profits are collapsing and more jobs are likely to be lost.

In the UK, British Airways is bleeding cash and is making 12,000 staff redundant despite having another 22,000 workers on furlough out of a total workforce of 42,000.

The flagship airline filed a loss of £465 million for the first three months of the year – with all but a week of trading outside lockdown.

Corporate gloom

“In light of the impact of Covid-19 on current operations, the expectation is that the recovery of passenger demand to 2019 levels will take several years,” the airline said in a statement.

Meanwhile oil goliath BP reported first quarter profits down by 66% to £600 million, mainly due to the oil price war instigated by Saudi Arabia.

Despite the gloom around corporate boardrooms, UK, European and US markets remained in the black.

In London, the FTSE 100 closed 111.71 points up at 5958.50 on the brink of breaching the 6,000 mark for the first time since early March. The FTSE 250 was also climbing – up 338.86 points to 16291.58.

The Pound rose 0.03% to flutter around €1.1484 and 0.11% to $1.2443 against the US Dollar.

Nikkei only faller

Brent crude put on 3.15% to $20.62 a barrel, while West Texas Intermediate dropped 0.08% to $12.77.

Gold stayed put at $1717.25 an ounce.

In the States, the Dow Jones added 100.07 points in early trading to hit 24233.85 and the NASDAQ dropped 42.31 points to slip to 8687.85. The S&P 500 nudged up 5.72 points to 2884.20.

The major European markets closed up – the French CAC 40 rose 64.53 to 4569.79 points, the German DAX gained 135.64 to reach 10795.63, the Euro Stoxx closed 49.97 up at 2932.06 and the Spanish IBEX managed an extra 104.6 points to end at 6836.40.

Overnight, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong climbed 295.82 points to 24575.96, but the Nikkei in Japan dropped 12.03 points to 19771.19.

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