European markets hope for coronavirus peak

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European markets traded sharply higher Tuesday as investors hoped that the region could be seeking a plateau in the coronavirus outbreak.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 jumped 2.6% in early trade, with travel and leisure stocks surging 8% to lead gains, as all sectors and major bourses entered positive territory.

Markets in Europe are also reacting to the news last night that U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson had been moved to intensive care as his coronavirus symptoms worsened, according to a statement from the government. 

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will temporarily take over the prime minister’s duties while Johnson is hospitalized.

Despite the high-profile illness of Boris Johnson, there are hopes in Europe that the rise in the number of new infections and deaths each day is starting to decline.

In Asia, China’s National Health Commission (NHC) reported 32 new cases, and no deaths as of April 6 — the first time the country posted no deaths since January when it started publishing daily updates. That brings the country’s total to 81,740 confirmed cases and 3,331 deaths, according to the NHC.

Stocks in Asia advanced Tuesday on rising hopes the spread of the global coronavirus pandemic may be slowing.

Mainland Chinese stocks, which returned to trade following a Monday holiday, led gains among the region’s major markets. The Shenzhen composite surged 3.184% to about 1,743.37 while the Shenzhen component added 3.15% to 10,428.91.

Biggest movers

In terms of individual share price action, tour operator Carnival and cinema chain Cineworld jumped 26% and 21%, respectively to lead the European blue chip index.

There were no major fallers in early trade, but stocks that have outperformed during the coronavirus downturn largely fell below the flatline, including French biotech firm Biomerieux, German meal kit delivery company Hellofresh and remote working software provider TeamViewer. 

— CNBC’s Eustance Huang and Huileng Tan contributed reporting to this story.

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