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Markets

European stocks jump; London wins pre-budget boost

  • Frankfurt and Paris stocks won 0.9 percent and 0.8 percent respectively at midday in the eurozone.
03 Mar 2021

LONDON: European stock markets rebounded further Wednesday from recent heavy losses as investors snapped up bargain shares, with London winning a pre-budget uplift.

Frankfurt and Paris stocks won 0.9 percent and 0.8 percent respectively at midday in the eurozone.

London's benchmark FTSE 100 index jumped 1.0 percent in late morning deals ahead of the UK government's annual budget due Wednesday, while the pound sat just underneath $1.40.

Oil prices advanced strongly on the eve of a key OPEC+ producers' meeting.

"It looks like a global revival in risk appetite," IG analyst Chris Beauchamp told AFP, after spiking US bond yields sparked a markets meltdown last week.

"Once again investors have had a little tantrum and have calmed down, clearing the air for another move higher."

In London, British finance minister Rishi Sunak's centrepiece budget -- due at 1230 GMT -- will seek to tackle surging virus-fuelled debt and pave the way for England's vaccine-driven exit from its current third lockdown.

Sunak on Tuesday said he would extend his multi-billion-pound furlough scheme paying the bulk of wages for millions of private-sector workers, while reports suggest he will offer more help for homebuyers.

Hospitality, travel and real estate firms rallied on hopes of a budget boost as Britain looks to reopen its shattered economy, which tanked almost ten percent last year.

"With business lifelines expected to be extended and a dose of extra support likely to be administered to ailing shops, pubs and restaurants, there has been a buoyant start for hospitality and landlords in London," said Hargreaves Lansdown analyst Susannah Streeter.

"Airlines, who have relied heavily on the furlough scheme, are also higher."

Pub operator Whitbread topped the FTSE risers board to win 5.1 percent, while householder Persimmon rose 4.7 percent and airline giant IAG soared 4.2 percent.

Asian equities rose strongly Wednesday following losses the previous day, as investors track global progress in fighting the deadly pandemic.

Sentiment was buoyed after the White House said Tuesday that it would have enough shots to immunise every adult by the end of May, two months earlier than first thought.

Upbeat news on vaccines, the expected passage of US President Joe Biden's stimulus package, slowing infection rates and easing lockdowns are contributing to the narrative that the global economy will see a burst of activity from the second half of the year.

However, investors remain on guard over concerns about asset bubbles -- and a potential surge in inflation that could herald interest rate hikes in the long run.

Last week's sell-off came on the back of rising US Treasury yields, an indication of rising interest rates, and while the bond market has steadied this week traders remain cautious.

Key figures around 1100 GMT -

London - FTSE 100: UP 1.0 percent at 6,676.29 points

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.9 percent at 14,162.45

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.8 percent at 5,855.16

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.6 percent at 3,730.54

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: UP 0.5 percent at 29,559.10 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng: UP 2.7 percent at 29,880.42 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: UP 2.0 percent at 3,576.90 (close)

New York - Dow: DOWN 0.5 percent at 31,391.52 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.2095 from $1.2091 at 2200 GMT

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.3985 from $1.3955

Euro/pound: DOWN at 86.49 pence from 86.64 pence

Dollar/yen: UP at 106.90 yen from 106.69 yen

Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.7 percent at $63.76 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.6 percent at $60.71 per barrel

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