FTSE 100 LIVE: Travel stocks SOAR after holiday boost – Spain to REOPEN tourism in July

Shares in Tui leapt by more than 52.4 percent at the close of trading on Tuesday as Spain signalled hope for holidaymakers following months of global shutdowns to fight COVID-19. British Airways owner IAG rocketed by 22.5 percent and easyJet rose by 19 percent. While Ryanair increased by nearly 12 percent after it said it would ramp up flights by 40 percent of its normal schedule from July 1. 

It comes after the Spanish government revealed on Monday that its requirement for overseas visitors to go into quarantine for 14 days will be lifted from July 1.

This followed announcements by other popular tourist destinations that coronavirus restrictions will be eased in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, Asian shares slipped on Wednesday as investor concerns about rising tensions between the United States and China tempered optimism about a re-opening of the world economy.

US President Donald Trump said late on Tuesday he is preparing to take action against China this week over its effort to impose national security laws on Hong Kong, but gave no further details. Hong Kong shares led declines among major regional indexes, with Hang Seng falling 0.46 percent, though it kept a bit of distance from a two-month low touched on Monday. MSCI’s ex-Japan Asia-Pacific index lost 0.12 percent, with mainland Chinese shares down a similar amount. Japan’s Nikkei was almost flat.

FTSE 100 LIVE: Asian shares slipped this morning

FTSE 100 LIVE: Asian shares slipped amid tensions between China and US (Image: GETTY)

Worsening relations between the world’s two biggest economies could further hobble global business activity, which is already under intense pressure due to the coronavirus pandemic.

E-Mini futures for the S&P 500 rose 0.4 percent, reclaiming the 3,000 chart level. The index had cleared 3,000 points in Wall Street overnight before pulling back, as some traders returned to the New York Stock Exchange floor for the first time in two months.

“The S&P 500 looked to be set to close above 3,000 until the late headline that the United States was considering a range of sanctions on Chinese officials and businesses should China go ahead with its legislation regarding Hong Kong,” analysts at the National Australia Bank said in a note.


4.40pm update: French restaurants protest against lockdown restrictions

French restaurants, bars and hotels have set empty tables and hung chef’s aprons outside to protest against continuing lockdown restrictions and demand more state aid.

France ordered the shutdown of its hospitality industry on March 14 in response to the coronavirus crisis and it remains closed despite some other measures being relaxed.

The industry acknowledged state aid had helped keep them afloat but warned more is needed.

4.15pm update: EU unveils €750bn coronavirus recovery plan

The EU has unveiled a €750billion plan to fund the bloc’s coronavirus recovery.

Under the proposal, the European Commission would borrow the funds from the market and then hand out two-thirds in grants and the rest in loans.

Much of the money will go to Italy and Spain, the EU nations worst-hit by the pandemic.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said: “We either all go it alone, leaving countries, regions and people behind and accepting a union of haves and have-nots, or we walk that road together.”

4pm update: FTSE update

The FTSE 100 index at 3:45pm was up 46.14 at 6113.90.

3.05pm update: Wall Street opens higher on recovery optimism

US stock indexes gained at the open on Wednesday amid hopes of a post-pandemic economic recovery.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 303.52 points, or 1.21 percent, to 25,298.63.

The S&P 500 opened higher by 23.88 points, or 0.80 percent, at 3,015.65, and the Nasdaq Composite gained 5.90 points, or 0.06 percent, to 9,346.12.

Ursula von der Leyen

The EU has unveiled a €750billion plan to fund the bloc’s coronavirus recovery (Image: PA)

2.30pm update: Spanish mortgages slump

The number of mortgages taken out by Spaniards fell in March by 14.6 percent year-on-year, the government’s statistics body said on Wednesday, reflecting the hit from the coronavirus outbreak.

March’s 26,382 mortgages also represented a 26.8 percent decrease from February, the National Statistics Institute said.

One of the worst-hit nations in the world by the COVID-19 disease, Spain began a strict lockdown on March 14.

Mortgages in April, the first full month under lockdown, are likely to fall even more starkly. Analysts expect the near standstill in Spain’s economy to have a direct impact on banks’ mortgage books, which account for 40 percent of their credit portfolios or around €500 billion ($551 billion) 

1.10pm update: Economy will bounce back – Downing Street 

Downing Street said the Treasury’s schemes will help the economy bounce back after the latest figures showing their cost were published.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told a Westminster briefing: “Our economic priority is to mitigate the impact of coronavirus on our economy as far as possible, which is why we’ve put unprecedented measures in place to protect businesses and jobs.

“The Bank of England and the OBR have both said that without these schemes the impact on our economy would’ve been much worse.

“The schemes put us and businesses across the UK in a strong position to bounce back in the future and carry on delivering the agenda set out earlier this year at the budget.”

12.47pm update: FTSE update 

FTSE 100 index at 12.45pm was up 88.38 at 6156.14.

11.58am update: EU to unveil recovery package 

The European Commission will unveil on Wednesday a plan to borrow on the market and then disburse to EU member states €500 billion in grants and €250 billion in loans to help them recover from their coronavirus slump, EU officials said.

The aim is also to protect the European Union’s single market of 450 million people from being splintered by divergent economic growth and wealth levels as the 27-nation bloc emerges from its deepest ever recession expected this year.

It is needed because countries such as Italy, Spain, Greece, France and Portugal, burdened with high debt and heavily reliant on tourism, will find it more difficult than more frugal northern nations to restart their economies through borrowing.

European Economy Commissioner Paolo Gentiloni said on Twitter that the total sum proposed for the recovery fund was €750 billion. 

11.04am update: Business fears over coronavirus 

Three out of five business fear they will not survive the Covid-19 pandemic despite support from the UK and Scottish Governments, according to a survey.

Research by think tank Scotianomics found 61% of Scottish companies are worried they may not reopen after the coronavirus crisis.

This includes 77 percent of businesses in the tourism sector and 100 percent of those in agriculture, forestry and fishing, although Scotianomics noted in these areas many workers are self-employed and for them “financial support from the Government is lacking”.

Of the 420 firms surveyed, almost all (93 percent) said they had been adversely affected by the pandemic – including 64 percent that said they had been forced to stop trading.

10.04am update: EU shares edge higher 

European shares edged higher on Wednesday as investors focused on a fresh EU stimulus plan , but renewed U.S.-China tensions over Hong Kong tempered optimism about a global economic recovery.

The pan-European STOXX 600 rose 0.3 percent, hovering near a 11-week high hit in the previous session, led by hard-hit banking, travel and leisure, and auto sectors.

9.33am update: Global recession alert: Economists who predicted 2000 and 2008 crashes issue warning

The economists who predicted financial crises in 2000 and 2008 have issued an alert as the coronavirus pandemic takes its hold over the global economy.

GMO Fund strategists said it was “going to be very difficult” for global markets to come out of the coronavirus crisis “unscathed”.

They warned US equities could have to drop to be “attractive” with predictions the S&P 500 index would have to fall by 30 percent.

FTSE 100

The FTSE 100 has been battered by the coronavirus crisis (Image: GETTY)

8.51am update: London stocks up

The FTSE 100 index at 8.45am was up 59.42 at 6127.18.

8.29am update: FTSE update 

The FTSE 100 index at 8.15am was up 48.76 at 6116.52.

8.23am update: British midcap hit high 

British midcaps hit an 11-week high on Wednesday as hopes of an economic recovery with the easing of coronavirus lockdowns offset concerns about growing political unrest in Hong Kong over Beijing’s proposed national security laws.

The domestically focussed FTSE 250 gained 1.2 percent, rising for an eighth straight session as thousands of retailers prepared to reopen from June 1 from a months-long shutdown that has crushed the UK economy.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 added 0.5 percent, with financials, energy and industrial stocks providing the biggest boosts in early trading.

Doorstep lender Provident Financial Plc jumped 5.5 percent as it flagged signs of a modest recovery in May after tighter underwriting rules led to a drop in business volumes in April.

Asset manager St James’s Place rose 3.2 percent and was among the biggest gainers on the FTSE 100 after reporting a modest 1 percent gain in April net inflows.

FTSE 100

Global stock markets have been hurt by coronavirus (Image: GETTY )

8.01am update: FTSE 100 opens

The FTSE 100 index opened at 6067.76.

7.58am update: FTSE update 

The FTSE-100 index at 7:44am was unchanged at 6067.76.

7.53am update: Japan eyes new stimulus package 

Japan will compile a new $1.1 trillion stimulus package that includes significant direct spending, to stop the coronavirus pandemic pushing the world’s third-largest economy deeper into recession, a budget draft seen by Reuters showed on Wednesday.

The 117 trillion yen stimulus, which will be funded partly by a second extra budget, will be on top of another 117 trillion package already rolled out last month.

The new package puts the total amount Japan spends to combat the virus fallout at 234 trillion yen ($2.18 trillion)- roughly 40 percent of Japan’s gross domestic product.

7.40am update: FTSE futures update 

FTSE futures are up 0.5 percent.

ftse 100

Coronavirus has spread panic across the world (Image: GETTY )

7.33am update: EU shares set for rise

European stocks are expected to rise with pan-European Euro Stoxx 50 futures up 0.3 percent. German DAX futures rose 0.5 percent. 

7.05am update: Dollar edges higher 

The dollar edged higher on Wednesday as worries about the US response to China’s proposed security law and renewed protests in Hong Kong supported safe-haven demand for the greenback.

The dollar edged up to $1.2320 against the pound on Wednesday, pulling away from its lowest level in two weeks.

The dollar rose to $1.0958 per euro, also pulling away from a one-week low.

The dollar remained locked in a narrow range at 107.53 yen , but the yen rose against the euro and the antipodean currencies on increased safe-haven demand..

5.38am update: Japan eyes fresh $1.1 trillion stimulus to combat pandemic pain

Japan will compile a fresh stimulus package worth $1.1 trillion (893.15 billion pounds) that will include a sizable amount of direct spending to cushion the economic blow from the coronavirus pandemic, a draft of the budget obtained by Reuters showed on Wednesday.

The stimulus, which will be funded partly by a second extra budget, will be on top of a $1.1 trillion package already rolled out last month, putting the total amount Japan spends to combat the virus fallout at 234 trillion yen – roughly 40 percent of Japan’s gross domestic product.

The government’s 117 trillion yen ($1.1 trillion) in fresh stimulus, to be compiled on Wednesday, will include 33 trillion yen in direct spending, the draft showed.

To fund the costs, Japan will issue an additional 31.9 trillion yen in government bonds under the second supplementary budget for the current fiscal year ending in March 2021, according to the draft.

Additional reporting by Rebecca Perring.

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