London’s blue-chip FTSE 100 index rose 3.3 percent by 8.22am, extending gains for the second day boosted again by a surge in travel stocks as investors were heartened by signs the COVID-19 crisis could be easing in the worst-hit regions of Europe. Still, doubts lingered as after it emerged last night that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has moved to intensive care as his coronavirus conditions worsened, amid reports he was struggling to breathe.
It comes off the back of a storming rally for Wall Street, with the Dow Jones surging 1,627 points or 7.7 percent to just under 22,678 following a brutal month in March.
Despite a growing death toll in the US, which is due to worsen over the following weeks, the S&P 500 index rose 7 percent and the more Composite rallied at 7.3 percent.
And China stocks rose by about 2 percent on Tuesday as markets resumed trading after a long weekend, with investor sentiment lifted by Beijing’s latest stimulus to shore up the world’s second-largest economy and a drop in the new coronavirus cases.
The Shanghai Composite index climbed 1.74 percent to 2,812.14 by the midday break.
FTSE 100 futures gained 3%
The FTSE 100 is poised for a positive start
It comes after Chinese markets were closed on Monday for the Qingming Festival holiday.
The blue-chip CSI300 index was up 1.97 percent, with its financial sector sub-index higher by 1.3 percent, the consumer staples sector up 2.71 percent, the real estate index gaining 0.83 percent and the healthcare sub-index up 2.13 percent.
Meanwhile, oil majors BP and Royal Dutch Shell gained about 4 percent on hopes that major oil producers including Saudi Arabia and Russia will agree to cut production soon.
Carnival Corp surged 26% as battered travel stocks extended their rebound, with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund and the Public Investment Fund (PIF), disclosing an 8.2% stake in the coronavirus-hit cruise operator on Monday.
The improving risk appetite globally helped the FTSE 100 recover 17.4 percent from its March trough, while midcap shares gained nearly 24% from their lows.
Stock markets globally were on steadier grounds amid a slowdown in coronavirus deaths across Europe, including Spain, Italy and France, raised hopes that sweeping lockdown measures were starting to show results.
Pound rallies against US dollar as traders await news on Boris [FIGURES]
Boris Johnson’s treatment while in intensive care revealed [REVEALED]
Coronavirus ‘wounds and scars’ to result in global economic crash [WARNING]
5.10pm update: FTSE 100 posts second consecutive gain
The FTSE 100 rose 2.19 percent today to close at 5,704.45.
The FTSE 250 also saw an increase, up 5.11 percent to 15,568.96.
4.33pm update: FTSE is set to close higher than previous day
The FTSE 100 Index is set to close higher than the previous day, as at 4.30pm it was up 114.91 at 5,697.30.
The previous close was at 5,582.39.
4pm update: 1 billion workers to suffer financially amid coronavirus pandemic
More than a billion workers around the world are set to suffer financially as a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the International Labour Organisation.
They state about one third of the global workforce is expected to feel the effects of the pandemic, as people lose their jobs, see a reduction in their hours or pay slashed.
Those working in the retail, manufacturing, accommodation and food and travel industries are expected to be particularly hard hit.
3.24pm update: US markets rise
Wall Street has opened comfortably in the green today, with the Down Jones up 3.4 percent.
2.47pm update: FTSE 100 update
The FTSE-100 index at 2.45pm was up 173.75 at 5756.14.
FTSE 100: London’s Stock Exchange has been hurt by coronavirus
1.48pm update: FTSE 100 update
The FTSE-100 index at 1:45pm was up 178.40 at 5760.79.
12.50pm update: FTSE 100 update
The FTSE-100 index at 12:45pm was up 157.97 at 5740.36.
12.15pm update: House prices at standstill
House prices in the UK have been brought to an “abrupt standstill” as experts expressed fears more than 500,000 house sales would be lost amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Halifax said the average house price across the UK was £240,384 in March, changing little from a record high of £240,461 in February.
The news comes after estate agent Knight Frank predicted that nearly 526,000 house sales will be “lost” if the UK remains in lockdown amid the coronavirus outbreak.
11.47am update: FTSE update
The FTSE-100 index at 11.45am was up 156.26 at 5738.65.
11am update: Pound rallies against US Dollar
At 9am the pound was 1.2340 dollars compared to 1.2296 dollars at the previous close.
The euro at 9am was 0.8810 pounds compared to 0.8789 pounds at the previous close.
Analysts said that while news of Mr Johnson’s condition was clearly a concern, beyond a short-lived dip in Asian hours it had not yet moved the pound because it was unlikely to mean a change in the government’s policy direction to fight the virus.
10.46am update: UK stock markets make gains
Low-cost airline Easyjet jumped 24.4 percent, while Carnival Corp shot up 23.3percent after Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund disclosed an 8.2 percent stake in the coronavirus-hit cruise operator.
Car dealership chain Inchcape gained 7.6 percent after it scrapped its dividend and said its board and senior management would take a 20 percent pay cut.
Retailer WH Smith rose 1.4 percent after it said it was taking steps to boost liquidity by floating fresh equity and raising debt.
Online trading platform Plus500 Ltd gained 2.1 percentafter posting a six-fold rise in quarterly revenue, as a market sell-off drove a boom in financial betting by retail traders locked down in their homes.
10.37am update: FTSE 250 surges
The FTSE 250 midcap index surged surged 5.3 percent, with Cineworld up 36.9percent after revealing it was in talks with lenders for liquidity needs as it shut all its 787 cinemas across 10 countries and suspended dividend payout.
The UK is on lockdown as coronavirus spreads panic across the globe
8.04am update: Australian dollar rises
The Australian dollar hit $0.6148, its highest in a week.
Sean Callow, an FX analyst at Westpac in Sydney, said:”It’s a long way short of a serious rally.
“There is still so much bad news to absorb from the economy.”
The New Zealand dollar rose 1.6 percent to $0.5988, while the safe-haven yen lost 0.17 percent, to 108.80 per US dollar.
8am update: Oil prices rise
Oil prices have risen on hopes the world’s biggest producers will agree to cut output as the virus pandemic crushes demand, while the risk-sensitive Australian dollar rose 1 percent.
Brent crude was up $1.04, or 3.15 percent, at $34.09 a barrel after falling more than 3 percent on Monday. US crude was up $1.00 to $27.07 per barrel.
Gold edged up 0.05 percent to $1,662.59 per ounce.
Chris Weston, head of research at Melbourne brokerage Pepperstone, said: “The market is front running what it believes is a peak in the virus case count with Europe leading the way.
“You can almost smell the fear of missing out from active managers.”
7.57am update: Asian stocks rally
Japan’s Nikkei rose 2 percent and has erased most of last week’s losses after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised a massive $991 billion economic stimulus package – equal to 20 percent of GDP.
MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan pared early gains, but rose 1.4 percent
7.47am update: FTSE index opens
The FTSE-100 index opened at 5582.39.
7.37am: FTSE 100 and Euro futures rise
FTSE futures gained 3.08 percent and EuroSTOXX 50 futures rose 0.61 percent, pointing to a steady open in Europe, while US stock futures were steady after trading either side of flat through the Asian day.