European Shares Rally As Investors Shrug Off China GDP Slump
European stocks rallied on Friday as investors brushed aside weak GDP data from China to focus on the most promising results against the new coronavirus.
Health-care publication STAT News reported that the experimental Covid-19 treatment remdesivir is showing promise in a Chicago clinical trial.
Investors also welcomed U.S. President Donald Trump’s plans for a gradual re-opening of the U.S. economy.
“We are not opening all at once, but one careful step at a time,” Trump said at the coronavirus task force press briefing Thursday as the White House outlined a three-phase approach to gradually bring back parts of public life.
On the data front, China’s first quarter GDP shrank 6.8 percent in 2020 as compared to a year ago, marking the first quarterly decline since 1992.
Fixed asset investment in the first quarter tumbled an annual 16.1 percent and industrial production dipped 1.1 percent year-on-year in March, while retail sales plunged 15.8 percent in the month, the National Bureau of Statistics said.
The pan European Stoxx 600 jumped 2.5 percent to 332.98 after rising 0.6 percent in the previous session.
The German DAX rallied 3.2 percent, France’s CAC 40 index surged 3.6 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 was up 3 percent.
Miners Anglo American and Antofagasta rose 3-4 percent as commodity prices gained ground despite weak Chinese data. Commodities trader Glencore surged nearly 9 percent.
In the oil & gas sector, BP Plc rallied 3 percent and Royal Dutch Shell advanced 3.7 percent.
Man Group soared 5 percent. The investment firm said it is proceeding with its
2019 final dividend and share repurchase program as planned.
Brewin Dolphin Holdings, a provider of discretionary wealth management, jumped 13 percent after its first-half total income increased 8.3 percent.
Airbus shares surged nearly 9 percent after Boeing said it plans to call
27,000 employees back to work next week in Washington state to begin building airplanes again.
French luxury-goods maker LVMH Moet Hennessy Luis Vuitton rallied 5 percent, Swedish clothing-retail company Hennes & Mauritz AB jumped 7 percent and German luxury fashion house Hugo Boss climbed 10 percent.
Automakers rose even as industry data showed Europe car registrations recorded a dramatic drop in March. BMW, Daimler, Volkswagen, Renault and Peugeot gained 3-6 percent.
Passenger car registrations declined 55.1 percent year-on-year to 567,308 units in the month as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak, the European Automobile Manufacturers Association reported.
Nokia advanced 3 percent on a report that it was working with an investment bank to defend itself from a hostile takeover.
Swiss drug maker Roche added 1.4 percent. The company is set to launch its newly developed serology test to detect Covid-19 antibodies by early May.
Adecco Group shares rose 6.8 percent. The Swiss provider of human resources solutions said its shareholders elected Jean-Christophe Deslarzes as Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Annual General Meeting.
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