By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch
The British pound recovered and U.K. stocks rose Tuesday, as concern over the hospitalization of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was offset by broader optimism the coronavirus crisis was slowing.
The FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed UK:UKX -1.61% surged 1.9%, and the British pound /zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled GBPUSD -0.0730% reclaimed the $1.23 level it lost when Johnson was sent to intensive care. Stocks globally rallied for a second day on signs the growth rate in new virus cases is slowing.
“The condition of the prime minister will only be a factor if it gets worse, otherwise the pound should continue to hold up,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.
He noted the pound was unchanged vs. the euro /zigman2/quotes/210561278/realtime/sampled GBPEUR +0.2031% , demonstrating the currency markets were focused more on a weaker dollar more than any U.K.-specific news.
Cineworld Group /zigman2/quotes/206525056/delayed UK:CINE -0.68% , the movie-chain operator, surged 46%. Cineworld halted its dividend and was noncommittal on whether it would complete its acquisition of Cineplex /zigman2/quotes/201832697/delayed CA:CGX +7.51% .
The stock is still down by 75% this year.
Another hard-hit stock, cruise operator Carnival /zigman2/quotes/210414141/delayed UK:CCL -4.07% , jumped 21%. Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund disclosed an 8.2% stake.