Global stocks rebound on easing virus crisis in some worst-hit countries

Agence France-Presse . London/New York | Published: 21:39, Apr 06,2020


Global equity markets rebounded Monday as some of the world’s worst-hit countries reported falling death rates, providing much-needed hope in the battle against coronavirus, but oil prices sank after a meeting of top producers was delayed.

While deadly COVID-19 continues its deadly sweep across the planet, with more than 1.25 million now declared infected and nearly 70,000 dead, news out of Europe that the rise of fatalities was easing has lifted spirits on trading floors.

Italy reported its lowest daily death toll in two weeks, while Spanish officials said deaths fell for the third straight day and France reported its lowest daily toll in a week.

Wall Street opened higher on Monday as traders took heart from news of falling coronavirus death rates in hard-hit countries even as US cases were poised to spike and a meeting of top oil producers was delayed.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average was up 3.8 per cent at 21,850.61 shortly after the open, while the broad-based S&P 500 climbed 3.6 per cent to 2,579.03.

The tech-rich Nasdaq also gained, opening up 3.5 per cent at 7,629.72.

In early afternoon eurozone deals, Frankfurt stocks rallied 4.5 per cent, Paris won 3.7 per cent, Madrid gained 3.0 per cent and Milan added 3.2 per cent.

‘European markets are trading higher because investors are shrugging off the pessimism,’ said AvaTrade analyst Naeem Aslam.

‘They are focused on more optimistic things: the slowing death rate caused by coronavirus. Italy, Spain, France, and Germany have all seen declining numbers.’

London jumped 2.1 per cent nearing midday, with gains capped by news that British prime minister Boris Johnson was hospitalised for precautionary tests after suffering ‘persistent’ coronavirus symptoms for ten days.

The pound however rose as officials insisted that Johnson was ‘still very much in charge of the government’.

Elsewhere, South Korea saw the fewest new cases in six weeks, Australian new infections were also dropping and Donald Trump said the US was showing signs of stabilising, despite the number of cases there passing 335,000 — the highest in the world.

Markets also shrugged off data Friday showing a massive drop in US jobs in March that added to news that millions of people had applied for unemployment benefits.

Tokyo, Sydney and Manila all rose more than four per cent, while Seoul, Singapore and Jakarta gained almost four per cent. Hong Kong jumped 2.2 per cent, while Shanghai was closed for a holiday.

Attention this week will be on a planned meeting of OPEC and other key crude producers aimed at easing a supply glut that had sent oil prices crashing.

Both main contracts had soared last week as Trump said Saudi Arabia and Russia would hold talks on ending their price war, while it also emerged OPEC would be holding a teleconference on Monday.

However, investors were dealt a blow over the weekend when the meeting was delayed to Thursday.

Analysts warned there were doubts that the US would take part in them, which could be a major sticking point for Moscow and Riyadh.

But even if a deal is reached, there is scepticism that suggested cuts of 10 million barrels a day will be enough to help the oil market, owing to a collapse in demand caused by the pandemic.

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