UPDATE 2-FTSE 100 locks third day of gains as Wall St mood improves

UPDATE 2-FTSE 100 locks third day of gains as Wall St mood improves

Reuters  | Mar 27, 2020 01:40

UPDATE 2-FTSE 100 locks third day of gains as Wall St mood improves

(For a live blog on European stocks, type LIVE/ in an Eikon
news window)
* FTSE 100 gains 2.2%, FTSE 250 up 3.8%
* Intu seeks debt waivers, aid as rental payments sink
* Dixons Carphone jumps despite profit warning
* Weak data spurs hopes for more stimulus

(Updates with closing price)
By Sruthi Shankar and Devik Jain
March 26 (Reuters) - A strong bounce on Wall Street helped
Britain's stock markets recover from early losses on Thursday,
as shocking economic data from across the world due to the
coronavirus pandemic fed into expectations of more stimulus
actions.
After falling as much as 3% during the midday, the blue-chip
FTSE 100 .FTSE closed 2.2% higher, recording its first
three-day gain since the coronavirus crisis started hitting
equity markets in February. Midcap stocks .FTMC rose 3.8%,
gaining for the fifth straight session.
Data showed a staggering 3.3 million people filed for U.S.
unemployment benefits last week as lockdown brought economic
activity to a sudden halt, while British retail sales stagnated
in February, even before shops shuttered.
The rest of Europe also saw weak numbers, hit by the
pandemic. However, Wall Street rallied more than 4% as investors hoped
for further aid from the U.S. government, including a $2.2
trillion coronavirus relief bill that lawmakers are expected to
pass on Friday. "With the U.S. markets in high spirits, Europe was able to
edge into the green," said Connor Campbell, financial analyst at
SpreadEx in London.
The Bank of England said on Thursday it was ready to ramp up
its bond-buying programme further if needed. Separately, finance
minister Rishi Sunak said that self-employed people will receive
a taxable grant of 80% of their average monthly profits as part
of coronavirus support package. However, analysts are skeptical about the strength of the
stock markets' recovery, with the main FTSE 100 still down about
25% from its January peak.
"Investors should plan for headlines describing large
declines in GDP, stark rises in unemployment, and waning
confidence numbers," Peter Essele, head of portfolio management
for Commonwealth Financial Network, wrote in a client note.
"It's quite possible that this week will be seen as the calm
before the storm."
Mall operator Intu Plc INTUP.L declined 6.4% after saying
it would seek debt waivers from its lenders and aid from the
government's coronavirus support schemes as the health crisis
hit rents. Fellow real estate firm British Land BLND.L dropped 3.8%
forecasting March rent deferrals of around 40 million pounds.
Britain's financial regulators have already announced
measures to give companies more time to publish results and
banks more leeway for handling troubled loans. Lender Non-Standard Finance NSF.L slid 3.2% after saying
it had reduced lending volumes across its divisions to preserve
cash. Electricals retailer Dixons Carphone DC.L jumped 12.5%
and aerospace engineer Senior Plc SNR.L gained 1.2% even as
they warned of a hit to earnings due to the pandemic.

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