European rout pauses as ECB stimulus measures calms recession panic

European shares edged higher from near-seven year lows today as another set of dramatic stimulus measures by the European Central Bank injected a ray of hope around its preparedness to tackle a major health crisis gripping the world.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index was up 0.5% in opening trade. 

The European Central Bank joined peers in Japan, Australia and the US in launching a fresh wave of emergency stimulus to help businesses battered by a near halt in economic activity from the coronavirus pandemic. 

Although banking and oil and gas stocks rose in early trading, travel and leisure firms fell another 3% on growing concerns of a complete collapse of the sector. 

Germany’s Lufthansa said the airline industry may not survive without state aid if the virus outbreak lasted for a long time.

Shares in Milan jumped 4.3% in opening trade this morning, while the Madrid stock exchange gained 3.1%.

The Paris CAC was up 2.3% in early trade, while shares in London and Frankfurt reversed their opening losses to stand 0.04% and 0.3% higher respectively. 

Dublin’s ISEQ index was also lower again this morning, falling by 0.67% in opening trade.

Earlier in Asian trade, Tokyo’s Nikkei index closed 1% lower while the Hang Seng index in Hong Kong was down 2.6%.

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