US stocks jumped this afternoon, while the FTSE 100 climbed steadily following reports that President Donald Trump’s health was improving.
Wall Street’s Dow Jones and tech-heavy Nasdaq both gained more than one per cent in early trading.
The S&P 500 climbed 0.9 per cent, following a sharp sell-off last Friday on the President’s announcement that he had contracted coronavirus just one month before the US presidential election.
Meanwhile, London’s blue-chip index rose as much as 1.2 per cent in initial trading before paring back gains to stand 0.64 per cent higher by 2.30pm. The FTSE 100 was helped by a weaker pound, which tends to boost the internationally-focused index.
The FTSE 250 rose 0.99 per cent, despite mid-cap Cineworld slumping 56 per cent after confirming plans to close all its screens in the UK and US after studios delayed major releases including the new James Bond film.
News of Trump’s infection sent investors rushing to safety last week, but his doctors said yesterday that the US President was responding well to treatment and could return to the White House today.
The update helped ease some of the political uncertainty sparked by Trump’s diagnosis, and sent global markets higher.
“Markets have opened the week on a cautiously optimistic footing, with reports that the US President may be allowed to leave hospital today providing some relief from another bout of pandemic-related concerns,” said Richard Hunter, Interactive Investor’s head of markets.
“Further details on the negotiations between the UK and EU are likely to overshadow market data this week as the ultimate deadline draws ever closer,” he continued, “while any further government proposals on additional stimulus to prop up an ailing UK economy would likely provide some temporary relief.”
European equities also rose this morning, with Germany’s DAX climbing 1.05 per cent, and France’s CAC 40 adding 1.01 per cent.
Overnight, Japan’s Nikkei 225 added 1.23 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index climbed 1.45 per cent. The Shanghai Composite slipped 0.2 per cent.
Overhanging the relief rally, however, is continued uncertainty about Trump’s condition and some concerns that his Covid case could be more severe than public disclosures suggest.