Daily Business Live: markets surge; Whitbread cuts
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by 11.3%, or nearly 2,100 points, its biggest one-day gain since 1933.
The S&P 500 was up 9.3% – its best day since October 2008, while the Nasdaq gained 8.1%.
Airlines, which have also lost billions in revenue amid widespread travel shutdowns, bounced back. American Airlines stock skyrocketed 35%, while Delta gained nearly 19% and United Airlines rose 24.9%.
Stock markets across the globe recorded similar gains amid reports that the US Congress will imminently reach an agreement on a $2 trillion fiscal stimulus bill to cushion the economic blow from coronavirus.
The FTSE 100 closed 452 points (9.02%) higher at 5,446.01, its biggest one-day rise since 2008.
8.40pm: Remnant Kings
Fabric firm Remnant Kings has collapsed into administration after poor sales figures
Stock markets enjoyed a huge rebound on the back of the latest stimulus measures,. The FTSE 100 closed 452 points (9.02%) higher at 5,446.01, its biggest one-day rise since 2008.
Markets were boosted by a statement from the G7’s financial ministers and central bank heads to ‘do whatever is necessary’ to protect and eventually restart the international economy, promising cooperation on ‘substantial and complementary packages’ to help out companies struggling in the face of the crisis.
Wall Street also opened higher, with the Dow Jones up 1,171 points and the S&P 500 up 124 points.
Investors are pinning their hopes on a $2 trillion rescue package for the US economy which Congress failed to agree twice on Monday.
2.45pm: Whitbread cuts investment, closes hotels
Whitbread will temporarily close all its Premier Inn hotels in the UK and Germany and will cut investment. The company said it is likely to be in technical default of its covenants but it is seeking a waiver.
It is in discussions with the UK Government regarding the use of some hotels, in locations near hospitals, to support front-line key workers.
It has cancelled major refurbishment and expansion investment.
12.15pm Olympic Games
Reports from Japan say a decision has been taken to postpone the Olympic Games until next summer.
Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe made a proposal that Tokyo 2020 is delayed by one year in a conference call with Games chiefs.
11.30am: Sports Direct u-turn
The sports retailer reversed its earlier plan to open stores following backlash
10.30am: Rent refusers
Fast food restaurants say they will not be paying their quarterly rent
The FTSE 100 continues to be fired up by the latest stimulus measures and attempts to control the coronavirus outbreak. It is trading at 5,209.57, +215.68 (4.32%) driven by gains in miners and oil producers.
The top riser was Carnival, up 9.2% as investors took the view that too much bad news had been priced into its stock. Holiday seller TUI was also one of the best performers on the FTSE for similar reasons, rising 8.5%. Both these stocks had previously suffered sharp declines on fears about demand for their services.
Just Eat soared by 7.1% in anticipation that its food ordering and delivery capabilities will be very important during the UK’s stricter lockdown, said Russ Mould at AJ Bell.
Only three FTSE 100 stocks were down in early trading – utility providers United Utilities and Centrica, and Primark owner Associated British Foods.
European markets rallied even more strongly, including a 5.3% gain Germany’s DAX index. In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei 225 jumped by 7.1% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index advanced by 4.5%.
Oil rebounded by 2.9% to $27.82 per barrel and the pound strengthened 0.9% against the US dollar.
The insurer said it is looking at “other options” for its US business Jackson after stating earlier this month its preference for a flotation.
It succumbed to pressure from US hedge fund Third Point to offload the business and its intention is to introduce third-party capital into Jackson.
“In light of continued turmoil in public equity markets, the board is ensuring that, alongside preparations for a minority IPO, it continues to actively evaluate other options in relation to Jackson, driven by the focus and objectives that underline our strategic priorities,” it said in a statement today.
The FTSE 100 has followed Asian markets by opening higher. In early trade it was trading at 5,177.75, +183.86 (3.68%).
7.30am: JD Sports Fashion
Sportswear chain JD Sports Fashion, which includes the Tiso outdoor business, has confirmed that unlike Sports Direct all its stores are closed in the UK, United States and Europe.
“Whilst our trading websites continue to accept and fulfil orders, this represents a comparatively small mitigation in terms of overall profit contribution,” it said in a trading update.
7.20am: Smart Metering Systems
SMS, which installs and manages smart meters and carbon reduction assets, has temporarily stopped all non-essential field work until further notice.
The Scottish company said it will continue to provide full emergency field support and related activities and will maintain its extensive IT infrastructure.
The group has closed all its offices and warehouses, except for activities required to support emergency field activity and IT infrastructure which cannot be conducted remotely, with a majority of the workforce continuing to work and support customers from home.
7.10am: Springfield Properties
The Scottish housebuilder said it notes the statement made by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on 23 March advising the closing of building sites across Scotland.
“Further guidance is expected to be given by the Scottish Government on this matter and the Group will update the market in due course.”
7am: Shareholders lose out
Shareholders have taken a £1.5 billion hit to their income since the coronavirus hit, with a dozen or so companies this week alone scrapping their dividend payouts.
6am: Stock markets
Stock markets will remain open with the UK regulator saying there is no evidence that short selling has contributed to recent falls.
Asian markets rise, despite forecasts of gloomy US data.
5.50am: Postponed results
Nucleus, the financial wrap company has postponed its annual results and provided a brief update.
AG Barr, manufacturer of Irn-Bru, has also delayed its figures and supplied a trading update.
5.40am: China lifts lockdown
A two-month lockdown of 50million people in China’s Hubei province – source of the coronavirus outbreak – will be eased this week.
Those who have tested negative for the virus will be allowed to leave the province from midnight on 25 March for the first time since 23 January.
However, restrictions will remain around Wuhan until 8 April.