Stocks Surge To Recover Lost Ground As Coronavirus Casualties Fall

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Share prices pushed higher on the hope that deaths from coronavirus seemed to be slowing down in many countries.

In London, The FTSE 100 closed up 3.08% at 5,582.39, and the FTSE 250 gained 5.06% at 14,812.36.

Top performer was Rolls Royce rising 18.32% on news of a restructure leading to salary cuts from the boardroom to the shop floor and the pulling of dividends.

Meanwhile, Legal & General, leaping 16.66% forward after announcing a dividend payment despite pressure from the Bank of England to keep the cash on account.

Sterling also had a good day, rising against the US dollar and the euro.

The Pound ended at $1.23, a rise of 0.27% and 0.25% higher against the euro at €1.13.

Oil war rumbles on

But the price of oil stayed low after the much-heralded showdown between Saudi Arabia and Russia at the scheduled OPEC+ meeting was cancelled until the end of the week.

Brent crude dropped 3.62% to $32.92 a barrel.

Other market data did little to reassure traders.

UK construction had a diabolical March with IHS Markit/CIPS UK construction total activity index falling like a stone for the worst performance since April 2009.

CIPS group director Duncan Brock said: “The battered construction sector was offered a brief respite in February with a marginal rise in output after a difficult year.”

“With no upturn in sight, and with the fastest level of layoffs since September 2010, the sector is stuck in quicksand and sinking further.”

Market data worldwide

Foreign markets continued to claw back losses from March.

In New York, the Dow Jones showed a 5.85% gain in early afternoon to 22284.00 and the NASDAQ rose 5.57% to 7783.91, while in Chicago, the S&P 500 climbed 5.75% to 2631.77.

Meanwhile European stocks were buoyant, with the CAC 40 in Paris adding 4.61%, the DAX in Frankfurt rising 5.77% and the IBEX in Madrid up 3.99%.

The Hang Seng in Hong Kong posted a 2.21% gain to 23749.12 and the Nikkei in Tokyo closed at 18576.30 – up 4.24%.

Although Spain, Italy, Germany, The UK and US also reported coronavirus deaths, the trend of cases reported and number dying in the past 24 hours all showed signs of hope the virus had reached a peak and social isolation policies were working.

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