It comes despite Asian stocks rising. Investors have begun picking up the pieces after a broad regional index posted its biggest daily loss in more than three months yesterday. US stocks ended positive in choppy trade on Thursday, led by a dogged comeback in the technology sector, having initially sold off on higher-than-expected unemployment claims. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was 0.66 percent higher in the morning session, after slumping 2.15 percent a day earlier, its biggest daily drop since June 11.
Even after Friday’s rise, the index remains on track to post its largest weekly drop since March, pulled lower by fears that the global recovery from the novel coronavirus pandemic could be running out of steam.
Investors have also been uncertain about Washington’s ability to pass a stimulus package after Fed officials indicated they expected more fiscal support.
News that Democrats in the US House of Representatives are working on a $2.2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package that could be voted on next week, and that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reiterated she is ready to negotiate on it with the White House helped to assuage some of those fears on Friday.
“Sometimes the best environment for global equities is a weak economy where the government’s trying to stimulate. That’s actually a positive backdrop,” said Michael Frazis, portfolio manager at Frazis Capital Partners in Sydney.
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Coronavirus has sent shockwaves through the UK economy
5pm update: Makets close for the weekend
The FTSE-100 index at the close was up 19.89 at 5842.67.
1.30pm update: William Hill subject to takeover bid
Gambling giant William Hill has confirmed it has received two separate takeover bids from private equity giant Apollo and casino group Caesars Entertainment.
The betting business said it received a written proposal from Apollo on August 27, before receiving further proposals from each party.
It told investors discussions “are ongoing”.
12.00pm update: Currency latest
The pound at 12pm was 1.2712 dollars compared to 1.2735 dollars at the previous close.
The euro at 12pm was 0.9161 pounds compared to 0.9157 pounds at the previous close.
11.45pm: Revolution Bars warns it may go bust
Revolution Bars has announced the company may go bust following the Government’s new Covid-19 restrictions hitting the sector and is assessing options for a rescue plan.
The chain, which has reopened 39 of its 74 bars, said no decision has been made but one option being considered is an insolvency tool called a company voluntary arrangement (CVA) to reduce debts.
The business furloughed 2,775 during lockdown.
In a statement to the London Stock Exchange, Revolution Bars said it raised cash from investors and extended loans with its banks in June, but warned: “Further to the continuing challenging trading environment and exacerbated by the further Covid-19 related restrictions announced by the Government earlier this week, the board of Revolution confirms that it has been working with advisers to assess various strategic options for the group.
“Revolution has a strong balance sheet following the £15 million equity fundraising and the extension of its banking facilities announced in June but the board believes that the long-term nature and potential impact of the latest operating restrictions means that it must consider all necessary options to ensure that its business remains viable.”
10.20am updates: European markets enjoy mixed morning
While the FTSE continues to rise, things are more mixed with the European markets.
Euronext 100 is down 0.29%, CAC 40 is down 0.56% and DAX is down 0.38%.
The Swiss Market Index, however, is up 0.15%.
8.20am update: Bright start for FTSE
The FTSE has enjoyed a bright start to the day after a mixed week of morning trading.
The UK index closed at 5,822 after a tough day in which it lost 77 points.
However it is on the up again this morning, gaining 15 points in just the first ten minutes of trading.
Rishi Sunak introduced a number of emergency measures during the outbreak of coronavirus
7.30am update: ONS issues bleak report
The ONS has issued a bleak report outlining the extent of the UK’s economic crisis due to coronavirus.
Borrowing and debt has skyrocketed, the report said.
The report said: “Borrowing was £173.7 billion in the financial year to date (April-August 2020), £146.9 billion more than the same time last year and more than in any April-August period since current records began in 1993
“Debt (public sector net debt excluding public sector banks, PSND ex) at the end of August 2020 was £2,023.9 billion or around 101.9% of gross domestic product (GDP), £249.5 billion more than at the same point last year.”