European Shares Set To Open On Positive Note

marketopen 011519 18may20 lt

European stocks look set to open higher on Monday after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell expressed optimism Sunday that the U.S. economy can begin to recover from a devastating recession in the second half of the year, assuming the coronavirus does not erupt in a second wave.

In an interview with CBS, Powell played down comparisons to the Depression, but cautioned that it would take time for the economy to return to anything close to normal.

Asian markets edged higher despite rising U.S.-China tensions and weak data from Japan confirming its economy slipped into recession in the first quarter.

Meanwhile, as lockdowns ease further across Europe, investors remain concerned about rising infection numbers in the United States, Brazil and some other countries.

Coronavirus could "burn out naturally before any vaccine is developed", Professor Karol Sikora, who previously directed the WHO's cancer program, said on Saturday.

As the World Health Organization begins its first ever virtual assembly today, almost 120 countries now support an international push for a coronavirus inquiry.

The dollar held its ground and gold jumped to the highest level since November 2012, while U.S. crude futures climbed toward a two-month high.

The British pound hit a seven-week low after the chief economist of the Bank of England said the bank is considering negative interest rates among other options to prop up the economy.

U.S. stocks edged higher on Friday as a continued rise in oil prices helped offset dismal retail sales and industrial production data for April as well as intensifying U.S.-China trade tensions.

After the White House moved to block shipments of semiconductors to Huawei Technologies, Chinese state media Global Times tweeted that Beijing was working out a move to put a swathe of U.S companies such as Qualcomm, Cisco and Apple in an "unreliable entity list".

The Dow Jones Industrial Average inched up 0.3 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite climbed 0.8 percent and the S&P 500 added 0.4 percent.

European markets posted strong gains on Friday following encouraging factory data from China and on expectations of additional stimulus from U.S. and Chinese governments.

The pan European Stoxx 600 gained half a percent. The German DAX allied 1.2 percent, France's CAC 40 index edged up 0.1 percent and the U.K.'s FTSE 100 rose about 1 percent.

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