Sterling has now gained 5 percent against the dollar since the mid-may low of $1.2075. The currency has recently been weighed down by the Britain’s high COVID-19 death toll, as well as Brexit-related risks, the prospect of negative interest rates and the country’s growing debt pile.
But it was boosted when the Bank of England’s executive director for markets said yesterdast that a negative interest rate would not be introduced in the near term.
Kit Juckes, a strategist at Societe Generale, said that sterling’s strengthening today was about 70 percent due to fears of negative rates being calmed.
He said about 30 percent of the gains were attributable to dollar weakness as global markets become more optimistic about an economic recovery.
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FTSE 100 LIVE: Pompeo has warned global investors
2.34pm update: Miliband calls for ‘green jobs’ creation
Shadow business secretary Ed Miliband said the coronavirus pandemic could give fresh impetus to creating more green jobs.
He told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: “We have many people in the private sector deeply vulnerable in this crisis, we have an unemployment emergency essentially – a million young people may become unemployed this year, older people being put out of work.
“There are a massive number of green jobs to be done – what I call a zero carbon army – whether it is insulating homes, planting trees, installing electric car charging ports.”
He urged the Government to “bring forward” investment to help manufacturers to move towards green technologies and also to “re-train and redeploy workers” who had lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19.
Ed Miliband has called for the creation of more ‘green jobs’
2.09pm update: Jobs boost for US economy
The US economy unexpectedly added jobs in May after suffering record losses in the previous month.
The Labour Department’s closely watched employment report showed the jobless rate falling to 13.3 percent last month from 14.7 percent in April, a post World War Two high.
It came on the heels of surveys showing consumer confidence, manufacturing and services industries stabilising.
Economic conditions have significantly improved as businesses reopened after shuttering in mid-March to slow the spread of COVID-19.
A Labour Department spokesman said: “These improvements in the labor market reflected a limited resumption of economic activity that had been curtailed in March and April due to the coronavirus pandemic and efforts to contain it.”
1.45pm update: The FTSE-100 index was up 103.91 at 6445.35.
12.45am update: The FTSE-100 was up up 74.13 at 6415.57.
12.31pm update: Bar chain raises a glass to August reopening
Bar chain Revolution has launched a fundraiser to secure £15 million from shareholders as it works towards reopening its sites in August.
The company said the move will cut further into its debts and help it to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic in “a position of strength” after shutting all 74 of its bars during lockdown.
Revolution also announced plans to delist from the London Stock Exchange’s main market in favour of a listing on its junior market AIM.
It said it would raise the funds through a share placing to ensure it is well-placed to grow once its bars are able to reopen.
12.04pm update: Airlines see shares soar again as Europe plans to re-open for summer
British Airways owner-IAG has taken off on the pan-European STOXX 600 with shares soaring by 11 percent while shares in easyJet, Lufthansa and Air France gained between 3 percent and 6.2 percent.
The rises come after reports that popular European holiday destinations are looking at ways of re-opening for business without the need for travel restrictions or quarantine rules for foreign tourists.
Aircraft manufacturer Airbus gained 6.6 percent after Australia’s Qantas announced plans to reactivate plans to order planes.
British Airways shares have soared today
11.45am update: The FTSE-100 was up 61.63 at 6403.07.
11.30am update: European shares continue to rally
European shares resumed their rally this morning as a bumper stimulus from the European Central Bank fuelled hopes of a faster economic recovery.
The eurozone’s main markets appeared on course for their best week in two months as a result of the ECB move.
The pan-European STOXX 600 gained 1.3 percent, led by a 3.3% jump in bank stocks, while insurers, automakers and travel stocks nearly 3 percent.
Global equity markets have climbed strongly this week, with Wall Street indexes nearing record levels as investors focussed on re-opening of economies, progress in development of a COVID-19 vaccine and stimulus actions.
ECB boss Christine Lagarde
10.45am update: The FTSE-100 index was up 69.18 at 6410.62.
10.30am update: Hang Seng records biggest weekly gains for five years
The Hong Kong stock market closed up today with its largest weekly gains since 2015 as improving investor sentiment and central bank support globally offset political concerns in the strife-torn territory.
The Hang Seng index closed 1.7 percent higher at 24,770.41 and up 7.9 percent for the week in its biggest jump for five years.
Mainland Chinese shares had their best week in three months thanks to fresh signals of policy support from Beijing earlier in the week.
And Hong Kong shares also benefited from improving global sentiment, as investors cheered the European Central Bank’s stimulus support.
9.47am update: Pound receives boost after BoE announcement
The pound rose to a new three-month high against the dollar in early trading today and looks set for its biggest weekly gain since the end of March.
Sterling has now gained 5 percent against the dollar since the mid-May low of $1.2075.
The currency has recently been weighed down by the Britain’s high COVID-19 death toll, Brexit-related economic risks, the prospect of negative interest rates and the country’s growing debt.
But it was boosted when the Bank of England’s executive director for markets said on Thursday that a negative interest rate would not be introduced in the near term.
9.45am update: The FTSE-100 index was up 75.96 at 6417.40.
9.18am update: EasyJet leads charge as travel sector prepares to take to the skies again
Shares in EasyJet, cruise operator Carnival and British-Airways owner IAG have all jumped more than 8 percent amid reports some European countries were keen to adopt transport corridors, letting British holidaymakers visit Mediterranean resorts without quarantining for 14 days on their return.
9.15am update: The FTSE-100 index was up 73.53 at 6414.97.
8.45am update: The FTSE-100 index is up 80.46 at 6421.90.
8.15am update: The FTSE-100 index has risen 58.70 points to 6400.14.
8.02am update: Washington warns investors against China fraud
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned American investors against fraudulent accounting practices at China-based companies and said the Nasdaq’s recent decision to tighten listing rules for such players should be “a model” for all other exchanges around the world.
His remarks illustrate Washington’s desire to make it harder for some Chinese companies to trade on exchanges outside of China.
Earlier, Donald Trump issued a memo calling for recommendations to be issued within 60 days to protect US investors from what he said was China’s failure to allow audits of US-listed Chinese companies.
He wrote: “We must take firm, orderly action to end the Chinese practice of flouting American transparency requirements without negatively affecting American investors and financial markets.”
7.45am update: FTSE-100 index opens unchanged at 6341.44.
7.32am update: Global markets eye gains after ECB announcement
Global financial markets are expected to make more ground today after the surprise rescue package announcement from the European Central Bank.
The bank ramped up its Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP) to €1.35 trillion.
This was beyond what most analysts had predicted and hot on the heels of a huge domestic support package from Germany on Wednesday, hoisted the euro back above $1.1250 and the main eurozone markets back into positive territory.
Neil Birrell, Chief Investment Officer at Premier Miton,said: “This reflects the ‘we will do what it takes, mentality of central bankers. It is likely to keep the markets happy.”
6.11am update: Oil edges higher as traders eye producer talks on extending supply cuts
Oil prices nudged higher on Friday as traders await cues from a meeting that could take place as soon as this weekend where major oil producers will discuss whether to extend record production cuts.
Brent crude futures were up 20 cents, or 0.5 percent, at $40.19 a barrel as of 0419 GMT, while US West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures were up 8 cents, or 0.2 percent, to $37.49 a barrel.
Brent has risen about 14 percent this week, while WTI is up nearly 6 percent, leaving benchmarks on track for a sixth week of gains.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies led by Russia, a grouping known as OPEC+, will meet on Saturday to discuss extending output cuts, Algeria’s Ennahar TV channel reported on Friday, citing an OPEC source.