London’s blue chip FTSE 100 index was up 115.47 at 5793.20 at 8.15am as coronavirus continues to spread panic across the world. European markets are also expected to rally, with France’s CAC 40 expected to open at 32 points higher at 4,453, Germany’s DAX is seen 83 points higher at 10,406 and Italy’s FTSE MIB is seen 15 points higher at 17,376.
But that sentiment could be dented as the US prepares for the release of its unemployment figures.
Asian shares were also trading higher on Thursday with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan up 0.6 percent, following a strong Wall Street close.
Shares in China, where the novel coronavirus first emerged late last year, rose 0.54 percent. Australian shares were up 1.52 percent. It comes after Wuhan, where coronavirus was first reported in China at the start of the year, lifted its lockdown measures this week.
Masayuki Kichikawa, chief macro strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Co in Tokyo, said: “There are signs that infections are peaking, which is leading to the change in market sentiment.
FTSE 100 LIVE: Asian shares have risen this morning
“We still need to be very careful, because this is not purely an economic problem.
“It’s more like a natural disaster and, therefore, harder to predict.”
The S&P 500 gained 3.41 percent on Wednesday, helped by hopes the pandemic was nearing its peak. However, U.S. stock futures gave up earlier gains to be down 0.27 percent.
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8.16am update: FTSE rallies
The FTSE-100 index at 8.15am was up 115.47 at 5793.20.
7.46am update: FTSE 100 opening
The FTSE-100 index at 7.44am was unchanged at 5677.73.
7.32am update: Japan bucks regional trend
The Nikkei stock index bucked the regional trend and fell 0.46 percent as coronavirus infections in the country rose, while markets were also jittery following the government’s declaration of a state of emergency for Tokyo and other urban areas.
7.21am update: Oil prices extended gains
This was on hopes major producers will cut output at an OPEC+ meeting later in the day in response to a collapse in global oil demand.
US crude rose 3.07 percent to $25.86 a barrel. Brent crude rose 1.98 percent to $33.49 per barrel.
The Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia – a group known as OPEC+ – are set to convene a video conference meeting on Thursday.
Hopes of an agreement to cut between 10 million and 15 million barrels per day (bpd) rose after media reports suggested Russia was ready to reduce its output by 1.6 million bpd.
7.13am update: US stocks point to lower opening
Futures showed Dow Jones Industrial Average had fallen 35 points, pointing to an opening slip of about 111 points.
S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq-100 futures were also predicted to open slightly lower on Thursday.
It comes after the Wall Street enjoyed a strong finish yesterday when Bernie Sanders stepped down from the presidential race and Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, laid out his plans for battling coronavirus in the US.
Coronavirus is spreading across the globe
6.22am update: Dow Jones futures fall early Thursday
The Dow Jones Industrial Average has seen a rising strength line, which highlights its recent outperformance on the S&P 500 index.
However, the RS line for the Nasdaq composite has fallen behind due to the coronavirus stock market rally.
This also includes Apple stock and Amazon stock, according to Investor’s Business Daily.
The RS line for Microsoft stock has continued to power ahead, while Dexcom stock and Nvidia stock had strong RS lines until the past few days.
Trump, who is seeking to be reelected in the presidential election on November 3, wants to get the economy going again as soon as possible.
However, his medical advisers are urging the president to put these plans on hold as returning to normal life too early could lead to a second deadly outbreak.
Speaking at a White house news briefing Trump said: “We’re ahead of schedule.”
He said the economy could be reopened in phases.
However, Trump said he thought “it would be nice to open with a big bang.”