Stock markets surge, pound in focus
Global markets surged higher Monday as bargain-seekers moved in following sell-offs triggered by virus spikes and the return of some economically damaging containment measures.
As the coronavirus death toll topped one million, the World Health Organization warned that figure could double without more global collective action.
Major indices took little notice however as the Dow Jones had gained around 1.8 percent in midday trading, adding to a strong finish the previous week.
And despite swirling clouds of Brexit uncertainty, London added 1.8 percent while Frankfurt and Paris gained 3.2 percent and 2.4 percent respectively.
“Investors appear to be warming towards equities and other risk assets again,” remarked Fawad Razaqzada, market analyst with ThinkMarket.
“The relatively low (new) Covid-linked deaths mean investors are not showing too much concern towards rising virus cases. Instead, they remain optimistic over the potential approval of a vaccine soon, which together with ongoing central bank support will probably help accelerate the recovery,” Razaqzada added.
Elsewhere, investors kept an eye on the resumption of trade talks between Britain and the European Union, hoping for a breakthrough despite feuding over a controversial UK bill that threatens to scupper a deal.
The pound rallied against the dollar and euro on optimism surrounding the latest talks.
Traders also awaited the first US presidential debate this week, which could set the tone for November’s election, with many worried about potential scenarios if the vote is close.
The agenda for US data this week includes reports on US manufacturing and consumer confidence and the September employment report.
On the corporate front, HSBC shares surged by almost nine percent in London following news that its biggest investor Ping An Insurance Group had increased its stake in the bank.
Shares in steel giant ArcelorMittal soared by almost 11 percent after the firm said it would merge its US operations with producer Cleveland-Cliffs.
– Key figures around 1600 GMT –
New York – Dow Jones: UP 1.8 percent at 27,668.49 points
EURO STOXX 50: UP 2.8 percent at 3,223.69
London – FTSE 100: UP 1.5 percent at 5,927.93 (close)
Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 3.2 percent at 12,870.87 (close)
Paris – CAC 40: UP 2.2 percent at 4,843.27 (close)
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: UP 1.3 percent at 23,511.62 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 1.0 percent at 23,476.05 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.1 percent at 3,217.53 (close)
Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2861 from $1.2739 at 2030 GMT on Friday
Euro/pound: DOWN at 90.66 pence from 91.23 pence
Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1660 from $1.1626
Dollar/yen: DOWN at 105.56 yen from 105.59 yen
West Texas Intermediate: UP 0.5 percent at $40.46 per barrel
Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.8 percent at $42.27 per barrel