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April 9, 2020, 6:00 a.m. EDT

European stocks climb on optimism policy makers will find ways to reopen economies

By Steve Goldstein, MarketWatch


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Local police carry out a check on people without face masks in the main street of Sceaux, south of Paris, on April 8, 2020, on the 23rd day of a strict lockdown in France aimed at curbing the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.

European stocks traded higher in early action on Thursday as policy makers discuss how and when the global economy can reopen, with data showing a slowing spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Stoxx Europe 600 (STOXX:XX:SXXP)  rose 0.4%, and has climbed 11% over the last month.

U.S. stock futures (CME:ES00)  inched higher.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DOW:DJIA)  surged 779 points on Wednesday, on a combination of factors including the virus data, the discussions of reopening the economy and the exit of Sen. Bernie Sanders from the presidential race. CNN reported that White House aides have begun intensive discussions on a plan to reopen the U.S. economy as soon as the start of May.

Governments in Europe also have been eyeing ways to end the lockdowns.

The global coronavirus new-case growth slowed to 6.1% from 6.3%, and the U.S. new-case growth dropped to 8.7% from 9.1%, according to data compiled by Deutsche Bank.

“Financial markets appear to be looking beyond the continued rise in both infection and death rates, and to when the various lockdown measures might well be eased. The risk is that they, and we, could be getting ahead of themselves, and teeing themselves up for disappointment later in the month,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets U.K.

The U.S. Senate on Thursday will attempt to add $250 billion to the small-business loan program, according to Politico.

UBS (SWX:CH:UBSG)  and Credit Suisse (SWX:CH:CSGN)  both decided to pay part of their 2019 dividends later in the year after receiving criticism from the Swiss Financial Market Supervisory Authority. UBS separately said it expects a first-quarter profit of about $1.5 billion and says its capital and leverage ratios were in line with targets.

Diageo (LON:UK:DGE)  rose 2.2% as the alcoholic beverage maker halted its stock buyback and withdrew its financial guidance but said it would go ahead with a dividend payment planned for April.

Just Eat Takeaway (LON:UK:JET)  surged over 8% as the food delivery company’s Takeaway.com business said orders in most of its major markets, including the Netherlands, Germany and Poland, have recovered after an initial drop in mid-March.

Crude-oil futures (NYM:CL.1)  rose as traders awaited the results of a videoconference between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and Russia, in which a production cut of 10 million to 15 million barrels a day could be announced.

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