August 12, 2020: Stock markets rose on both sides of the Atlantic on Wednesday as growing optimism about an economic recovery and hopes for upcoming US-China trade talks outweighed worries that US lawmakers may not, after all, agree to a fresh stimulus deal any time soon.
European markets were around one percent higher at the close, with London outperforming its peers thanks to a weaker pound.
US and Chinese officials are meeting this weekend to review their trade pact.
Tensions between the powers has had investors worried, but US President Donald Trump's top economic adviser said the pact was “fine right now”.
Larry Kudlow told reporters that despite the tensions, “one area we are engaging is trade”.
He added that Beijing had vowed to stick to its promises on the January trade deal and there was evidence it was increasing purchases.
In New York, the Dow was around 250 points higher approaching midday.
Meanwhile, optimism that US lawmakers will thrash out a new stimulus package to accompany Federal Reserve's ultra-loose monetary policy was waning.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell gave traders a jolt when he told Fox News there had been no progress, fanning concerns the talks could take a lot longer than envisaged.
– Pound lower –
Meanwhile, the British pound slipped against the euro, and to a lesser extent the dollar, as Britain's coronavirus-ravaged economy slid into its deepest recession on record.
The weakening currency helped the London stock market outshine its neighbours as investors bought into UK-based multinational companies earning much of their income in dollars.
Britain's economy shrank by a fifth in the second quarter, more than any European neighbour, and following two quarterly contractions in a row was officially in recession.
Losses for the pound were, however, limited by data showing British GDP growth of 8.7 percent in June — the final month of the second quarter — as the economy slowly emerged from lockdown.
“The figure for June is key, as we all knew that lockdown measures would have a big impact on the economy but what we still don't know is how quickly the UK will rebound,” said AJ Bell analyst Laura Suter, calling the June figures “encouraging”.
– Key figures around 1540 GMT –
- London – FTSE 100: UP 2.2 percent at 6,289.62 points (close)
- Frankfurt – DAX 30: UP 0.9 percent at 13,058.63 (close)
- Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.9 percent at 5,073.31 (close)
- EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.9 percent at 3,363.18
- New York – Dow: UP 0.9 percent at 27,942.38
- Tokyo: Nikkei 225: UP 0.4 percent at 22,43.96 (close)
- Hong Kong: Hang Seng: UP 1.4 percent at 25,244.02 (close)
- Shanghai: Composite: DOWN 0.6 percent at 3,319.27 (close)
- Euro/dollar: UP at $1.1794 from $1.1734 at 2045 GMT
- Dollar/yen: UP at 106.95 yen from 106.50
- Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3045 from $1.3047
- Euro/pound: UP at 90.40 pence from 89.94
- West Texas Intermediate: UP 2.3 percent at $42.58 per barrel
- Brent North Sea crude: UP 2.0 percent at $45.39