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Global stocks and US futures rise as policymakers try to blunt the coronavirus pain

An outside view of the New York Stock Exchange along Wall Street in New York.
An outside view of the New York Stock Exchange along Wall Street in New York.

Global stocks and US futures surged Tuesday as policymakers in major economies announce historic measures to blunt the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

The promise of unlimited support for markets from the US Federal Reserve and hope that Congress is moving towards a huge fiscal stimulus package boosted US futures overnight as well as markets in Europe and Asia. Japan’s Nikkei 225 gained 7%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 4.4% and the Shanghai Composite was up 2.3%.

South Korea’s Kospi surged 8.6% after the country’s government announced that it will double its emergency financial support for businesses to 100 trillion Korean won ($80 billion).

In Europe, the FTSE 100 gained nearly 4% in early trading. France’s CAC 40 advanced 3.9% while Germany’s DAX rose by more than 5%. Germany’s finance minister Olaf Scholz told CNN on Monday that the government would do whatever it takes for as long as necessary to protect Europe’s biggest economy.

Stocks in Spain and Italy, which have been hard hit by the pandemic, also surged.

The rally comes on the heels of weeks of brutal trading that has wiped tens of trillions of dollars off the value of stocks as countries around the world put their populations on lockdown in order to prevent the spread of coronavirus. A global recession is now expected in 2020.

The United Kingdom became the latest major economy to adopt draconian measures on Monday when it ordered people to stay at home.

On Tuesday, investors seized on some signs of progress on a massive rescue package in the United States, where negotiations continue in Congress over how to allocate $2 trillion in stimulus. That comes after the Federal Reserve announced essentially unlimited bond-buying, three new credit facilities and a Main Street lending program.

“Asian investors like what they see from an all-in Fed,” wrote Stephen Innes, chief global markets strategist at AxiCorp, in a Tuesday research note.

US stocks ended Monday in the red after the stimulus bill failed to move forward, but futures moved higher overnight. Dow futures were last up nearly 800 points, or about 4.3%. S&P 500 futures gained 4.4% and Nasdaq futures increased 4.3%.

Even with Tuesday’s gains, most global indexes remain in a bear market.

“I think it’s too early to call the bottom quite yet,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK. “It still isn’t clear how bad the economic damage is likely to be and while a rally today is to be welcomed, the possibility of another leg lower remains a real possibility.”

Innes said he thinks the actions from the Fed “will effectively paper over the cracks for now.” But as more data that captures the severity of the economic tumult rolls in, he said, “the big equity market buyers will stay in cash and remain nervous about stepping back in until data improves.”

Separately, shares in Japanese conglomerate SoftBank skyrocketed 17% on Tuesday in Tokyo, adding to the stock’s big gains on Monday. Investors are cheering the company’s surprise announcement that it will sell $41 billion worth of assets to buy back shares and reduce debt. SoftBank stock is still down more than 19% for the year.

— CNN’s Yoonjung Seo in Seoul, Sherisse Pham in Hong Kong, and Matt Egan in New York contributed to this report.

Article Topic Follows: Biz/Tech

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