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April 7, 2020, 11:01 a.m. EDT

U.K. stocks rally, British pound recovers as optimism over possible virus containment offsets worry over Johnson

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By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch


Getty Images
Prime Minister Boris Johnson makes a speech at the Convention of the North at the Magna Centre on September 13, 2019

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.

/zigman2/quotes/210598409/delayed
UK : FTSE UK
5,612.68
-91.77 -1.61%
Volume: 259,672
April 8, 2020 10:45a
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210561263/realtime/sampled
US : Tullett Prebon
1.2328
-0.0009 -0.0730%
Volume: 0.0000
April 8, 2020 6:00a
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210561278/realtime/sampled
US : Tullett Prebon
1.1348
+0.0023 +0.2031%
Volume: 0.0000
April 8, 2020 6:00a
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/206525056/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
58.60 p
-0.40 -0.68%
Volume: 6.64M
April 8, 2020 10:41a
P/E Ratio
5.73
Dividend Yield
15.59%
Market Cap
£809.45 million
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/201832697/delayed
CA : Canada: Toronto
$ 11.74
+0.82 +7.51%
Volume: 889,319
April 7, 2020 3:59p
P/E Ratio
25.72
Dividend Yield
15.33%
Market Cap
$743.53 million
Rev. per Employee
$124,217
loading...
/zigman2/quotes/210414141/delayed
UK : U.K.: London
839.20 p
-35.60 -4.07%
Volume: 916,739
April 8, 2020 10:45a
P/E Ratio
3.84
Dividend Yield
0.00%
Market Cap
£5.99 billion
Rev. per Employee
N/A
loading...

Steve Goldstein is MarketWatch markets editor for Europe. Follow him on Twitter: @MKTWgoldstein.

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