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GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares edge up as economies look to reopen

Stock Markets Apr 29, 2020 21:18
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© Reuters.

* MSCI World Index gains 0.2%

* European shares flat

* Brent crude up 5%

* Dollar heads for two-week lows before Fed

* Fed statement due around 1800 GMT

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2020 http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh

By Tom Wilson

LONDON, April 29 (Reuters) - World shares eked out slim gains on Wednesday, with optimism over economies easing coronavirus lockdowns and rebounding oil prices leavened by a mixed picture on corporate earnings.

MSCI's world equity index .MIWD00000PUS , which tracks shares in 49 countries, ticked up 0.1%, with European shares flat by late morning in choppy trading.

Wall Street futures ESc1 were up 0.7%, helped by forecast-beating revenues from Alphabet Inc's Google GOOGL.O . broad Euro STOXX 600 .STOXX lost grounds as defensive stocks - sectors such as healthcare .SXDP and personal and household goods .SXQP - dropped between 1% and 1.7%.

Major drugmakers Roche ROG.S and Novartis NOVN.S fell 2.5% and 1.4% respectively, balanced by gains for BP BP.L , Total TOTF.PA and Royal Dutch Sell RDSA.AS as crude prices climbed as much as 15%.

Major indexes were varied: Frankfurt .GDAXI gained 0.3% while Paris .FCHI slipped 0.4%. London's benchmark .FTSE rose 0.7%, boosted by gains for lenders Barclays BARC.L and Standard Chartered STAN.L .

"The market is broadly buying stocks on the hope of the recovery and focusing on the eventual winners of this part of the cycle related to COVID-19, and then the structural winners," said Sebastien Galy, a strategist at Nordea.

Riskier assets, including equities, have rallied for most of this month thanks to heavy doses of fiscal and monetary policy stimulus around the globe aimed at softening the economic blow from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Investors across the world are growing confident the pandemic may be peaking as parts of the United States, Europe and Australia gradually ease restrictions. New Zealand this week allowed some businesses to reopen.

Still, Europe's quarterly results have continued to deteriorate, with Refinitiv data pointing to a 40.4% decline in earnings for companies listed on the STOXX 600, versus 37% a week ago.

Airbus AIR.PA posted a 49% slump in first-quarter core profit, with planemakers, airlines and suppliers have been left reeling by the pandemic. bright spots were evident, though.

German automaker Volkswagen (DE:VOWG_p) VOWGp.DE said it expected a full-year profit even after a plunge in first-quarter earnings and Daimler DAIGn.DE was also eyeing an operating profit for its Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans unit. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS gained 1% to a near two-month peak.

CRUDE REBOUNDS

Hopes the moves would help revive energy demand sent U.S. crude futures CLc1 up about 15% to $14.12 a barrel, paring a 27% plunge over the first two days of this week. O/R

Brent crude LCOc1 futures rose 5% to $21.47 a barrel.

The moves also emboldened bets on riskier currencies, keeping the dollar on the back foot, with the greenback falling 0.1% to 99.760 against a basket of currencies =USD .

The euro EUR= was flat at $1.0860, though the euro index =EUR eased after Fitch cut Italy's credit rating to BBB-, just one notch above "junk" status. Italy's government bond yields rose after the cut. analysts were circumspect about the rally in stocks, noting a concentration among tech and IT stocks.

"We were actually seeing a big dislocation in performance in the new world - the tech thing - and the old economy of industrials reliant on human costs," said Olivier Marciot, portfolio manager at Unigestion.

Investors are now watching out for results from the other major tech firms including Amazon AMZN.O and Apple AAPL.O . Earnings from Facebook FB.O and Microsoft Corp MSFT.O are due later in the day.

The gains have come even as analysts predict a sharp contraction in world growth.

Moody's expects economies of the group of 20 advanced nations (G20) to shrink 5.8% this year with momentum unlikely to recover to pre-coronavirus levels even in 2021.

Markets were next looking for any guidance from the U.S. Federal Reserve, which is due to issue a policy statement around 1800 GMT after its two-day meeting. The European Central Bank meets on Thursday. said it was unlikely the Fed would make further major policy moves, given the scope and depth of its efforts to counter the economic damage caused by the coronavirus.

For Reuters Live Markets blog on European and UK stock markets, please click on: LIVE/

<^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ Global assets

http://tmsnrt.rs/2jvdmXl Global currencies vs. dollar

http://tmsnrt.rs/2egbfVh Emerging markets

http://tmsnrt.rs/2ihRugV MSCI All Country World Index Market Cap

http://tmsnrt.rs/2EmTD6j

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GLOBAL MARKETS-Shares edge up as economies look to reopen
 

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