European stock markets have pushed firmly higher Tuesday, as investors anticipate more financial aid to help bolster the region’s battered economies.
The EU’s finance ministers will be in focus Tuesday as they meet to try and agree a list of measures to mitigate the impact of the coronavirus on the region’s economies. If enough headway is made, the bloc’s leaders could debate and then rubber stamp a deal later in the week.
The subject of joint ‘coronabonds’ is sure to be raised again, but more likely options include credit lines from the euro zone’s bailout fund, more lending from the European Investment Bank and the use of the joint long-term budget directly for guarantees for leveraged borrowing.
This follows on from reports late Monday that another stimulus package could come from Capitol Hill. Another round could come by May and be around $1.5 trillion, Fox Business reported, citing sources briefed by the White House and Congressional leaders.
In corporate news, shares in Thales rose 3% despite it becoming the latest major European company to slash its dividend, suspend profit guidance and top up liquidity in response to the coronavirus crisis. The French aerospace and defense supplier said it had withdrawn the proposed final instalment of its 2019 dividend, saving 430 million euros.
Elsewhere, luxury groups LVMH and Kering joined Hermes and Chanel in saying they wouldn’t tap a state scheme for wage subsidies to help them through the crisis.
Shares in WH Smith soared over 7% after the U.K. retailer said it has raised 165.9 million pounds ($203.5 million) via the share placing, which will strengthen its balance sheet and liquidity position.
Oil prices pushed higher Tuesday as investors focused on the possibility of a global cut in crude production. OPEC+, which includes Russia, is set for a virtual meeting on Thursday that many expect to end with an agreement.
The group is likely to agree to cut production Thursday as long as the United States joins in cutting output, Reuters reported late Monday, citing three OPEC+ sources.
The American Petroleum Institute will issue its measure of weekly U.S. oil stockpiles after the bell Tuesday. Last week it reported a huge build of more than 10 million barrels.
At 3:30 AM ET, futures traded 3.5% higher at $27.00 a barrel. The international benchmark contract rose 2.7% to $33.94.
Elsewhere, rose to a new seven-year high of $1,742.20 before retreating a little to $1,700.10/oz, while traded at 1.0870, up 0.7% on the day.
European stock markets posted strong gains Monday, helped by signs of a slowdown in coronavirus-related deaths in the region, and by expectations of more financial aid to help bolster its battered economies.
At 03:45 AM ET (0745 GMT), the U.K.’s index traded 2.6% higher, 40 was up 3.3%, while the rose 3.9%. The broader-based Europe index climbed 2.6%.
The number of deaths has fallen in recent days in Italy and Spain, the two European countries worst hit, as well as in Germany, the region’s most populous country. The rate of new infections presents a more mixed picture, but has clearly slowed in Italy.
This news has raised hopes that the European continent may be on the road back to something approaching normality, although British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was taken to hospital on Sunday suffering from persistent coronavirus symptoms..
Eurozone finance ministry officials are set to hold discussions this week about how best to aid poorer states buckling under the coronavirus strain.
The subject of joint ‘coronabonds’ is sure to be raised again, but more likely options include credit lines from the euro zone’s bailout fund, more lending from the European Investment Bank and using a joint long-term budget directly for guarantees for leveraged borrowing.
In corporate news, shares in HSBC climbed 3% in the positive market despite Fitch Ratings downgrading its outlook to negative from stable. The agency kept its A+ long-term default rating.
Accor shares climbed over 5% after its chief executive stated the French hotel group has enough cash to operate through the coronavirus crisis. BMW shares rose 6.5% even after the carmaker reported a 20% drop in first-quarter sales.
On the flip side, Norwegian Air Shuttle shares fell 6% after the airline reported passenger volume fell by 60% year-on-year in March as it grounded more of its fleet amid global efforts to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Oil prices edged lower as the OPEC+ group of major exporters delayed a meeting scheduled for later in the day to Thursday.
The announcement of the meeting, called last week to mediate a truce between Saudi Arabia and Russia in their ongoing price war, sent oil prices soaring last week.
At 2:45 AM ET, futures traded 1.3% lower at $27.98 a barrel. The international benchmark contract fell 1.0% at $33.77.
Elsewhere, were 0.9% higher at $1,660.90/oz, while traded at 1.0817, up 0.1% on the day.
European stock markets traded in tight ranges Thursday, after Wednesday’s sharp losses to start the month, with the tone remaining cautious as investors awaited key U.S. unemployment data later.
At 3:55 ET (0755 GMT), the U.K.’s index traded 0.4% higher, 40 was up 0.2%, while the fell 0.2%. The broader based Europe index was flat.
The three cash indices all posted losses of around 4% Wednesday as the damage done by the virus outbreak continued to weigh on investor sentiment.
Oil and gas stocks led the way as crude prices bounced strongly after President Trump stated late Wednesday that Russia and Saudi Arabia would make a deal to end their price war within a “few days”. Royal Dutch Shell shares were up 6.9% while BP shares rose 6.5%.
Global oil prices have fallen by roughly two-thirds this year as the coronavirus has slammed global economies at the same time major producers Saudi Arabia and Russia have started to flood the market with oil.
At 3:55 AM ET, futures traded 9.0% higher at $22.13 a barrel. The international benchmark contract rose 9.3% to $27.04.
Delivery Hero shares dropped 2% after the online food delivery marketplace announced measures to support restaurants that are trying to survive coronavirus lockdowns by ramping up deliveries to consumers stuck at home.
Shares in Credit Agricole climbed 3% after it cancelled the 2019 dividend following a recommendation from the European Central Bank. This follows similar steps taken by many of its European peers.
While the Financial Conduct Authority’s proposal of a range of new measures to support households, including three-month payment freezes on loans and credit card debt, weighed on U.K. banks. HSBC dropped 4% while Lloyds fell 1.8%.
Still, most eyes Thursday will be on the release of the latest data in the U.S. later in the session.
The starkest evidence of the economic damage caused by the coronavirus pandemic came last week when weekly U.S. initial jobless claims, one of the earliest gauges of economic trends, jumped to 3.28 million, blowing past the previous record of 695,000 set in 1982.
Economists expect claims for first-time unemployment benefits to have jumped by 3.5 million last week, when the figures are released at 8:30 AM ET (1230 GMT).
The forecasts in a Reuters poll range from 1.5 million to 5.25 million.
In Europe, meanwhile, Spain registered its largest ever monthly rise in jobless, as over 302,000 people filed for benefits in March.
Elsewhere, rose 0.9% to $1,606.50/oz, while traded at 1.0939, down 0.2% on the day.
The world’s biggest oil and gas companies are cutting spending this year following a collapse in oil prices driven by a slump in demand because of the coronavirus crisis and a price war between top exporters Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Cuts already announced by eight major oil companies, including Saudi Aramco and Royal Dutch Shell , come to a combined $28 billion, or a drop of 20% from their initial spending plans of $142 billion.
BP cut its 2020 spending plan by 25% and will reduce output from its U.S. shale oil and gas business, it said on Wednesday.
Exxon Mobil Corp said it would cut capital expenditure but has not given specific figures as yet.
Brazilian oil company Petrobras said it was dialling back short-term production, delaying a dividend payment and trimming its 2020 investment plan, among other measures aimed at reducing costs in the face of the coronavirus pandemic.
Oil prices have slumped 65% since January to around $25 a barrel.
Investors say if the current crisis is prolonged, the spending cuts announced by major oil companies may not be enough to let them maintain dividends without adding to their already elevated levels of debt.
The combined debt of Chevron , Total, BP, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell stood at $231 billion at the end of in 2019, just shy of the $235 billion hit in 2016 when oil prices also tumbled below $30 a barrel.
European stocks inched higher on Tuesday with investors buying into defensive sectors as they awaited further signs that the economy could weather the fallout from a near total global shutdown to curtail the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 1.1% at 0706 GMT, with real estate stocks , utilities and telecoms — usually considered stable during heightened volatility — adding between 0.9% and 1.5%.
Still, the benchmark index was set to end its worst quarter since 2002, with investor confidence far from stable amid a rout that erased more than $3 trillion from the value of European firms in just over a month.
In a bright spot, HelloFresh jumped 12% to a record high after the German meal-kit delivery firm forecast first-quarter revenue above market expectations.