The pressure on the FTSE abated for the moment as the index came up for air after the ECB’s approval of a massive €750 bond buying programme. Stocks benefiting the most were those with strong European exposure such as DCC plc, which supplies medical kit and equipment to hospitals and supplies petrol stations with fuel; like other companies in this sector it has benefited the most from the ECB’s decision as the firm operates in a number of European countries. The stock is leading the FTSE risers with a nearly 9% bounce, followed by Coca-Cola HBC.
The pound, however, is in the doldrums despite the Chancellor’s generous aid package earlier this week which investors suspect may not be enough to balance out the damage to the UK economy as the spread of the virus intensifies. With schools in the UK closed from Monday and talk of London going into lockdown this weekend it is clear that for most businesses things will become worse before they get better. Sterling reflected that with a drop to $1.158 against the dollar which is currently holding up as corona has not yet reached its peak in the US.
NYSE to close floor temporarily
The trading day in New York will go all electronic from Monday after two traders were tested positive for COVID-19. The decision should have almost no impact on trading given that the bulk of the transactions are digital already. NYSE is following in the footsteps of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange which also decided to shift to digital-only trading from next week. In London the only remaining floor trading is still happening on the London Metal Exchange but the LME ring will go silent from Monday, also shifting all trade on-line.