Coronavirus: European stocks rise as countries discuss easing lockdowns

Edmund Heaphy
Finance and news reporter
Children in northern Spain take a walk for the first time in six weeks. (AP Photo/Alvaro Barrientos)

European stocks gained on Monday as several countries began discussing ways to gradually ease coronavirus lockdowns.

In Spain, children were on Sunday (26 April) allowed outside for the first time in six weeks, while a “clear descending trend” in coronavirus cases in the country will soon see authorities outline how the country can move towards “a new normality.”

French prime minister Édouard Philippe will on Tuesday unveil a national strategy for easing the lockdown, while some “strategic” businesses can reopen this week in Italy, provided they receive clearance from local authorities.

READ MORE: UK retail are gearing up to reopen shops in lockdown-easing anticipation

The pan-European STOXX 600 index (^STOXX) was 1.7% in the green, while London’s FTSE 100 (^FTSE) was up by more than 1.6%.

Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) rose by around 2.2%, while France’s CAC 40 (^FCHI) was up by around 1.7%.

“With countries across the world — notably France, Italy, Spain, Australia and New Zealand — aiming to ease some of their lockdown measures this week or next as they try to find the ‘new normal’, the markets rebounded hard on Monday,” said Connor Campbell, a financial analyst at Spreadex.

“Though we have no idea when the terms of lockdown will be altered, let alone ended, in the UK, the examples set by its global, and especially European, peers still sent the FTSE sharply higher,” he said.

The gains in Europe followed a strong trading session in Asia.

China’s SSE Composite Index (^SSEC) rose by 0.25% on Monday and the Hang Seng (^HSI) was up by almost 1.9% in Hong Kong at market close.

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Japan’s Nikkei (^N225) rose by more than 2.7% after the Bank of Japan pledged to undertake unlimited bond buying to cushion the country’s economy.

Shares on the KOSPI Composite Index (^KOSPI) in South Korea climbed by almost 1.8%, while Australia’s ASX 200 (^AXJO) closed 1.5% in the green.

Futures were also pointing to a higher open for US stocks on Monday.

S&P 500 futures (ES=F) rose by more than 0.5%, Dow Jones Industrial Average futures (YM=F) rose by almost 0.8%, while Nasdaq futures (NQ=F) were 0.9% in the green.