The blue-chip index rose 2.9 percent on Thursday, ending the week with a gain of nearly 8 percent. The week ended one day early, due to the Good Friday bank holiday. The FTSE 250 also rose by 3.4 percent, its best weekly performance. Jasper Lawler, head of research at London Capital Group, responded to the news and said: “The mood in markets continues to improve, but it’s patchy.”
MPs handed an additional £10,000 each to help them work from home US stock market panic as 6.6 million apply for unemployment
It comes after IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva painted a terrifying picture of the social and economic impact of the coronavirus than even just a few weeks ago.
She warned governments across the world had already undertaken fiscal stimulus measures of $8 trillion, but more would likely be needed.
She said the COVID-19 crisis would hit emerging markets and developing countries hardest of all, which would then require hundreds of billions of dollars in foreign aid.
She said: “Just three months ago, we expected positive per capita income growth in over 160 of our member countries in 2020.
“Today, that number has been turned on its head: we now project that over 170 countries will experience negative per capita income growth this year.”
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FTSE 100 LIVE: Stocks rose by eight percent this week (Image: GETTY)
The IMF boss warned of a recession like the Great Depression in 1930 (Image: GETTY )
Speaking ahead of next week’s IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings, she said the IMF expected a partial recovery in 2021 if the pandemic faded in the second half of the year but warned the situation could also get worse if the invisible killer disease continues to spread.
She said: “I stress there is tremendous uncertainty about the outlook: it could get worse depending on many variable factors, including the duration of the pandemic.”
The IMF, which has 189 member countries, will release its detailed World Economic Outlook forecasts on Tuesday.
It comes after the FTSE 100 rallied this morning after the Bank of England announced extraordinary measures to directly finance the UK government crippled by the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.
JUST IN: US stock market panic as 6.6 million apply for unemployment
FTSE 100: London’s financial markets have taken a hit amid the coronavirus crisis (Image: GETTY )
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London’s blue chip FTSE 100 index rose 1.9 percent by 7.11am and the FTSE 250 soared 2.3 percent after Boris Johnson’s Government expanded its overdraft with the Bank of England to ensure it has sufficient cash to cope with disruption caused by
The central bank announced this morning that it will now directly finance the extra spending the Government needs on a temporary basis.
The news puts the blue-chip FTSE 100 on foot to record its best week since July 2016.
Stock markets globally have racked up gains this week amid signs that coronavirus death toll was receding in hard-hit regions of Europe and levelling off in the US hotspot of New York.
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FTSE 100: Wall Street made gains on Wednesday (Image: GETTY )
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.
“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, US stock futures gave up earlier gains to be down 0.27 percent.
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FTSE 100 markets have rallied (Image: GETTY )
9.23pm update: EU states agree €1 trillion coronavirus rescue package
European Union member states have agreed a €1 trillion (£877billion) to shore up the economy in response to the coronavirus crisis.
The package is the most important economic plan in the EU’s history, according to French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire.
7.36pm update: Coronavirus must not prevent global tax reform
German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz has said that efforts to introduce global rules on taxing giants such as Google, Amazing and Facebook should not be derailed by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) is developing rules to make digital companies pay tax where they do business, rather than where they register subsidiaries.
Such a move could boost national tax revenues by a total of $100 billion (£80.3billion) a year, the OECD estimates.
But the coronavirus crisis could prevent the OECD’s objectives.
Speaking in Berlin on Thursday night, Mr Scholz said: “We must work to ensure fiscal firepower and robust national budgets, in all countries.
“We must not allow some to avoid contributing their fair share. “We must put an end to the harmful race to the bottom on corporate tax rates.”
6.40pm update: Bank of England to finance UK Government if markets turn sour
The Bank of England has agreed to temporarily lend the Government money if needed to help finance its coronavirus spending plans.
The BoE have stressed the move would only be a temporary measure, with any money borrowed having to be repaid by the end of 2020.
The BoE said in Thursday’s joint finance ministry statement: “As a temporary measure, this will provide a short-term source of additional liquidity to the government if needed to smooth its cashflows and support the orderly functioning of markets, through the period of disruption from COVID-19.”
5.53pm update: Axa UK donates £1million to help coronavirus crisis
Axa UK, the insurance company, has donated £1million to Business in the Community (BITC) as part of its response to the coronavirus pandemic.
The money will help provide support for the charity’s recently formed National Business Response Network.
The network connects national and local community groups, local authorities and charities requiring help providing food, medicine or community services with offers of help from businesses.
5.05pm update: FTSE closed in positive territory
The FTSE 100 climbed 2.9 percent today, marking its best week since early 2009.
The FTSE 250 also surged, up 3.4 percent.
4.32pm update: WTO warns of financial crisis
The World Trade Organisation is warning that global trade volumes could decline by as much as a third this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
Director general Roberto Azevêdo says WTO economists have forecast a drop in global merchandise trade of between 13 and 32 percent.
He added there will undoubtedly be comparisons to the 2008 financial crash and the Great Depression of the 1930s.
3.53pm update: EU to emerge ‘poorer and broken’ from coronavirus crisis
The European Union risks falling apart over the coronavirus crisis, French political scientist Thomas Gomart warned. M Gomart, head of the French Institute of International Relations (IFRI), told Le Monde: “Europeans risk emerging from this crisis poorer and disunited.”
The 27-member bloc has seen its economy battered by the pandemic as national governments impose strict lockdowns that have paralysed business activity and put normal life on hold.
On Wednesday, EU finance ministers failed to agree on a rescue plan to help hard-hit member states face the outbreak, further souring tensions between states.
FTSE 100: Global stock markets have risen (Image: GETTY )
3.12pm update: Huge paycut for Trainline bosses in attempt to weather crisis
Ticketing app Trainline has taken a series of measures to ensure it survives the coronavirus pandemic.
Bosses have opted to take a 50 percent pay cut and also made the decision to furlough staff and implement a hiriing freeze.
But despite train journeys being at just five percent of normal levels, the company said it has £150million in the bank – with its current months outgoings totalling about £8million.
Boss Clare Gilmartin said: “Trainline is a resilient business and we believe that our prudent action now strengthens us for the long term, positioning us well to return to growth once travel restrictions are lifted.”
2.33pm update: Wall Street set to jump open
Wall Street was set to jump at the open on Thursday as the US Federal Reserve rolled out a massive $2.3 trillion programme to bolster local governments and businesses impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.
In its most groundbreaking step yet, the Fed said it would work through banks to offer year-year loans to companies of up to 10,000 employees and directly buy the bonds of states and more populous counties and cities.
Dev Kantesaria, founder portfolio manager of hedge fund Valley Forge Capital Management in Wayne, Pennsylvania, said: “The Federal Reserve and the U.S. government are willing to go to extreme lengths to support the economy and that has been far beyond my expectations.”
2.29pm update: US stock futures rise
Futures jumped by 1.53 percent for Dow Jones, S&P 1.23 percent and Nasdaq 0.98 percent.
2.20pm update: US optimism over OPEC+ meeting
Energy Secretary Dan Brouillette said he believed OPEC+ countries can easily cut oil output by 10 million barrels per day and he was optimistic Russia and Saudi Arabia can resolve their dispute.
Mr Brouillette said in an interview with CNBC: “I think they can easily get to 10 million, perhaps higher, and certainly higher if you include the other nations who produce oil, nations like Canada, Brazil, others. Easily done.
“We’re optimistic that they’ll reach agreement between the Saudi and the Russians in an effort to stabilise the markets.”
FTSE 100: US stock market futures showed a dip (Image: GETTY )
2.22pm update: Debenhams enters administration
Department store chain Debenhams has confirmed it has entered administration.
The firm has appointed administrators from the FRP Advisory to oversee the process, after announcing it had filed a notice of intent to appoint administrators on Monday.
Debenhams’ 142 UK stores remain closed in line with Government guidance and the company said it will work to “re-open and trade as many stores as possible” when restrictions are lifted.
2.11pm update: Pound update
The pound at 2pm was 1.2433 dollars compared to 1.2397 dollars at the previous close.
The euro at 2pm was 0.8762 pounds compared to 0.8766 pounds at the previous close.
1.58pm update: Inside ECB bosses fears
Bosses at the European Central Bank feared a rapid deterioration of the euro zone economy, minutes from their late-night March 18 meeting have showed.
1.40pm update: US unemployment figures top 15million
Shocking figures showed a staggering rise in the amount of weekly unemployment claims during the coronavirus crisis – the number of Americans seeking unemployment benefits in the last three weeks has topped 15 million.
Weekly new claims topped 6 million for the second straight time last week as tough measures to control the coronavirus outbreak abruptly ground the country to halt.
1.11pm update: Coronavirus will unleash worst recession since Great Depression
The pandemic sweeping the world will turn global economic growth “sharply negative” in 2020, triggering the worst fallout since the 1930s Great Depression, the head of the International Monetary Fund said.
12.45pm update: US stocks slip amid economic downturn
Futures for the Dow Jones slipped by 0.03 percent, S&P stocks fell by 0.2 percent and Nasdaq 0.3 percent amid the major global downturn as the US fights the coronavirus pandemic
FTSE 100: Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey (Image: GETTY )
12.13pm update: Pound Sterling update
The pound at 12pm was 1.2437 dollars compared to 1.2397 dollars at the previous close.
The euro at 12pm was 0.8732 pounds compared to 0.8766 pounds at the previous close.
11.17am update: Russia calls for coordinated response to oil row
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia wants coordinated joint action to stabilise global oil ahead of a meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC producers.
Asked if Russia had been given assurances the US would be part of a deal, the Kremlin pointed to comments made by President Vladimir Putin last week saying that a new deal would hardly be possible without other countries joining in.
10.47am update: FTSE 100 update
The FTSE-100 index at 10.45am was up 25.38 at 5703.11.
10am update: MPs handed an additional £10,000 each to help them work from home during lockdown
MPs are being offered an additional £10,000 to support them while they work from home during the coronavirus outbreak, it has emerged.
The extra cash injection will come on top of the roughly £26,000 MPs already receive a year to cover their office costs as the UK is gripped by the deadly coronavirus disease.
MPs will be able to use the extra funding to buy equipment to work from home, including laptops and printers, and to subsidise the additional money they spend on electricity, heating and phone bills, while they work remotely.
They will now be able to spend £5,000 in one single transaction as the credit limit on their payment cards is increased to £10,000.
FTSE 100: The Bank of England will directly finance the Government (Image: GETTY )
9.50am update: UK shares on the rise
Shares in Just Eat Takeaway, an online food ordering and delivery company, surged 9 percent to the top of the index after saying total orders for the group jumped 50 percent in the first quarter.
Among midcap stocks, homebuilder Redrow surged 6.7 percent after winning approval for the Bank of England’s coronavirus emergency financing scheme and said talks with six banks to secure additional funds were progressing well.
Fellow housebuilders Barratt Development, Persimmon and Taylor Wimpey gained between 4 percen and 5.6 percent.
8.30am update: Bank of England to directly fund UK Government crippled by COVID-19 spending
The Bank of England has agreed to temporarily finance government borrowing in response to COVID-19 if funds cannot immediately be raised from debt markets.
This is a measure last used to any large degree during the 2008 financial crisis.
Britain’s government typically borrows money direct from markets through bond issuance, and this week financial markets showed a strong appetite to fund more than £10 billion of government bonds, some at record-low yields.
But markets were far choppier last month – before the BoE said it would buy £200 billion of assets, mostly bonds – and Thursday’s announcement gives the BoE scope to finance the government directly.
The BoE said in a joint statement with the finance ministry: “As a temporary measure, this will provide a short-term source of additional liquidity to the government if needed to smooth its cashflows and support the orderly functioning of markets, through the period of disruption from Covid-19.”
The government and BoE said any borrowing from the Ways and Means facility – effectively the government’s overdraft with the BoE – would be repaid by the end of the year.
The statement said: “The government will continue to use the markets as its primary source of financing, and its response to Covid-19 will be fully funded by additional borrowing through normal debt management operations.”
It comes after BoE Governor Andrew Bailey previously said that the central bank would not engage in ‘monetary financing’ – the permanent funding of government spending, linked to hyperinflation in post World War One Germany and more recently in Zimbabwe.
But Mr Bailey defended the BoE’s existing quantitative easing as a means to keep inflation on target and said action to ensure smooth market functioning was also within the BoE’s remit.
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.
Coronavirus is spreading across the globe (Image: EXPRESS)
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.
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.
5.39am update: Trump gives US economy update amid coronavirus pandemic – ‘Open with a bang’
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.”