European markets set to open higher, cheered by gradual slowdown in new coronavirus cases

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European markets are set to open higher Monday as the rate of new coronavirus infections appears to be slowing in the region.

London’s FTSE is seen 92 points higher at 5,493, Germany’s DAX is seen 268 points higher at 9,788 and France’s CAC 40 is seen 105 points higher at 4,255 while Italy’s FTSE MIB is seen 381 points higher at 16,677, according to IG.

European markets are being buoyed by data showing the rate of new coronavirus infections and deaths there is slowing.

Italy, which was the epicenter of Europe’s pandemic before Spain overtook it in terms of the number of cases, reported its lowest daily COVID-19 death toll for more than two weeks on Sunday, Reuters noted. 

Germany reported a slowdown in the rate of new cases on Sunday for the third day in a row while in Spain, the rate of new infections and deaths continued to decline; Sunday’s rise in the number of deaths represented a 6% increase in total deaths, about half the rate reported a week ago.

“The data from this week and today confirms the slowing down of infections,” Spain’s Health Minister Salvador Illa told a news conference, Reuters reported. “The data confirms that confinement is working.”

Meanwhile in the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to a hospital for tests Sunday, 10 days after contracting the coronavirus. A Downing Street spokesperson said it’s a “precautionary step” since the prime minister continues to have persistent symptoms of the virus. 

Stocks in Asia Pacific rose in Asia’s Monday afternoon trade as a scheduled meeting between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and its allies, initially set to take place Monday, was delayed. 

Oil prices dropped during early morning trading on Monday, however, after the OPEC+ alliance of oil producers announced it was delaying its meeting (at which it could agree to a production cut).

U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 2.86% to trade at $27.53 a barrel, while international benchmark Brent crude slipped 1.7% to $33.53 a barrel. Earlier, U.S. crude futures had fallen about 9%.

On the data front, German industrial orders for February are released, and new passenger car registrations in the U.K. for March are published. 

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