FTSE 100 LIVE: London's stock markets enjoy flying start amid plans to reopen US economy

London’s bluechip FTSE 100 index jumped about 2.7 percent by 8.09am after it opened at 5,628.43 despite the UK’s lockdown to fight the coronavirus outbreak being extended for at least another three weeks. The FTSE 100 was led by world’s top iron ore miner Rio Tinto Ltd , which jumped 4.5 percent, after posting higher-than-expected quarterly production.

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The wider mining index gained 4.1 percent, with peers Anglo American and Glencore adding more than 4.5 percent.

The domestically focused midcap index rose 3.2 percent.

However, both the indexes are on track to post weekly losses as UK extended its lockdown for another three weeks to prevent the spread of the pandemic, which has claimed 13,729 lives as of Wednesday.

While, Euro Stoxx 50 futures rose 2.5 percent, climbing for the fourth time in five days, while German DAX, French CAC and FTSE 100 futures jumped between 2.2 percent and 3.0 percent. 

Asian stocks also gained on Friday with MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS up 2.6 percent after reaching a five-week high.

Shares in China .CSI300 rose 1.8 percent as the weak GDP data reinforced expectations that more stimulus is coming, while shares in Australia were up 2.62 percent. E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 index ESc1 traded 3.38 percent higher, also close to a five-week high.

Data from China showed the world’s second-largest economy shrank for the first time since at least 1992 because of the coronavirus outbreak and tough containment measures.

FTSE 100 LIVE: Asian stocks gained on Friday

FTSE 100 LIVE: Asian stocks gained on Friday (Image: GETTY)

FTSE 100

FTSE 100 is expected to make gains (Image: GETTY )

Gross domestic product contracted 6.8 percent in the quarter year-on-year, slightly more than expected, and 9.8 percent from the previous quarter.

However, the Chinese data and other forecasts that said the world is in its worst recession in decades caused barely a ripple in Asian shares as investors focus instead on whether the pandemic is peaking and how soon governments will start to ease lockdowns which have crippled business and consumer activity.

Some analysts cautioned, however, that it is premature to say the health crisis is under control.

Ayako Sera, market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank in Tokyo: “Stocks are reacting naturally to Trump’s talk of re-opening the economy, because some people don’t want to be left out of the rally.”


FTSE 100

FTSE 100: EU markets are expected to rally today (Image: GETTY )

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12.38pm update: Economiic free fall is over – expert 

The stock market rally Wall Street experienced at the beginning of the week suggests the “economic free fall” the coronavirus pandemic sparked is “over”, according to financial strategist Jeffrey Kleintop.

But he warned there is still “tough times ahead” for the global economy.

Mr Kleintop said: “It’s certain that we don’t know what the recovery looks like, which is fairly obvious.

“What the stock market has done here is it’s rallied on the idea that, maybe, the worst of the economic free fall is over and we’re now talking about reopening the economy.

“The rally that we’ve seen so far on that basis makes some sense but that’s the easy part. 

“The hard part lies ahead. What kind of recovery are we going to have?

“Is this stimulus that’s been put in place enough to revive the economy?

11.47am update: London stocks update 

The FTSE 100 index at 11.45am was up 189.57 at 5818.00.

11am update: Spain to pay basic income 

Spain is planning to pay a basic monthly income to about a million of the country’s poorest households to help them weather the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Social Security Minister Jose Luis Escriva said those receiving the basic income, which will be approved by the cabinet in May, will have incentives to find work, such as being allowed to combine the monthly stipend with wages from a new job for a period of time. 

Mr Escriva told COPE radio station: “Without incentives to find a job, there is a temptation to exhaust the stipend and not look on the job market.” 

FTSE 100

The UK economy has been crippled by the coronavirus crisis (Image: GETTY )

10.11am update: UK shares jump 

Peers BHP Group and Glencore added more than 5 percent, leading the wider mining index up 4.6 percent. 

Markets globally took heart as the US joined other countries in planning lockdown exit measures with a staggered, three-stage approach following weeks-long lockdown that has severely damaged business activity.

Keith Temperton, a sales trader at brokerage Tavira Securities, said: “There’s a lot of hope in the market that things might go back to normal slowly. 

“It’s a bit presumptive. We know the governments will try and open up economies, but supply chains are going to be hampered for longer and consumer will be far more reluctant to get back to normal.”

9.25am update: London stocks update 

The FTSE 100 index at 9.15am was up 143.74 at 5772.17.

9am update: China stock close on a high 

China stocks ended higher on Friday as investors looked past the country’s first quarterly economic contraction in at least 28 years, pinning their hopes on a state-supported recovery as the impact of the coronavirus pandemic recedes.

At the close, the Shanghai Composite index was up 0.66 percent at 2,838.49.

The blue-chip CSI300 index was up 0.98 percent, with its financial sector sub-index adding 1%, the consumer staples sector up 1.67 percent, the real estate index up 0.57 percent and the healthcare sub-index down 0.72 percent.

The smaller Shenzhen index ended up 0.34 percent and the start-up board ChiNext Composite index was higher by 0.62 percent.

China’s economy shrank for the first time since at least 1992 in the first quarter with the gross domestic product (GDP) growth falling 6.8 percent in the period, official data showed on Friday.

ftse 100

Coronavirus global stats (Image: EXPRESS)

8.17am update: FTSE update 

The FTSE 100 index at 8.15am was up 145.55 at 5773.98.

8.02am update: FTSE 100 opens 

London’s stock index opened at 5,628.43

7.56am update: Drug trials lift the mood 

A report detailing encouraging partial data from trials of US drugmaker Gilead Sciences Inc’s experimental drug remdesivir in severe COVID-19 patients lifted the mood. 

Jeffrey Halley, a market analyst at OANDA, said: “Markets have understandably jumped on the first piece of good news in what seems like forever regarding the pandemic. 

“If proven effective, remdesivir would be a game-changer in the COVID-19 pandemic fight, especially being a legacy drug that has been around for many years.”

7.47am update: FTSE 100 update 

The FTSE 100 index at 7.44am was unchanged at 5628.43.


7.25am update: US futures pave the way 

CMC’s David Madden said: “The news sent US index futures higher, and it paved the way for a positive session in Asia. European markets are being called higher. “

6.22am update: China crude oil runs hit 15-month low as virus cripples demand

China’s daily crude oil throughput in March sank to a 15-month low with state refiners maintaining deep output cuts as the coronavirus pandemic erodes demand, but there are some signs of recovery as the country begins to ease virus-related curbs.

The steep drop in runs at the world’s top energy consumer highlights not only the woes of the global oil sector but also that of the broader economy amid the health crisis that has upended lives, hobbled supply chains and roiled markets.

China’s GDP shrank 6.8 percent in January-March from a year ago, the first such decline since at least 1992 when quarterly records began, as the virus crippled the economy.

Crude runs over the period came in at 149.28 million tonnes, or about 11.98 million barrels per day (bpd), down 4.6 percent from a year earlier, National Bureau of Statistics data shows.