Europe Posts Gains as Reopenings Draw Nearer

Europe Edges Higher; Central Bank Meetings Loom

By Ritu,

Capital Sands

European stock markets pushed higher Wednesday amid signs the region’s economic shutdown may be coming to an end, but turmoil in the oil market continued to demand a degree of caution..

At 4 AM ET (0800 GMT), the U.K.’s FTSE index traded 1% higher, France’s CAC 40 was up 0.5%, while the DAX rose 1%. The broader based Stoxx 600 Europe index climbed 1%.

Italy could start lifting strict stay-at-home orders from May 4, the country’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte said Tuesday, in a post on social media.

In addition, Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Wednesday his government plans to begin winding down the coronavirus lockdown measures in the second half of May.

These are the two hardest hit countries in Europe, with over 45,000 confirmed deaths due to Covid-19 combined.

Yet, gains are limited as there remains a strong sense of caution in the market, particularly with regard to oil.

At 4:05 AM ET, U.S. crude June futures traded 1.0% lower at $11.46 a barrel. The international benchmark Brent contract fell 11% to $17.25.

In corporate news, shares in Ericsson climbed 3.1% after the telecommunications equipment company backed its guidance after feeling only a limited impact from the coronavirus.

On the flip side, shares in Heineken fell 1.2% after the brewer reported a sharp drop in net profit for the first quarter as the virus hit volumes in March.

UniCredit , Italy’s largest bank, plans to take an additional loan-loss provision of 900 million euros ($977 million) for the first quarter to account for the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Elsewhere, gold futures rose 2% to $1,721.45/oz, while EUR/USD traded at 1.0865, up 0.1% on the day.

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