European stocks are trading tentatively higher as the worst of the pandemic may be over in Italy, Spain and France, with the lowest number of new cases reported in weeks. Germany plans to allow smaller shops to start operating again, car dealerships and book shops, and some smaller European countries like the Czech Republic plan on lifting all restrictions by 8 June, allowing bars, restaurants and hotels to start operating as normal by then.
European news is helping lift FTSE-listed retailers and consumer goods firms – Next and Unilever in particular – while house builders and miners are losing ground. The UK government’s job retention scheme designed to compensate employers in order to retain their staff is going live today and will be key for the future of smaller and medium sized businesses. On the FTSE 250 Aston Martin Lagonda gained nearly 10% as the firm plans to carefully restart production amid the lockdown.
DJIA’s house of cards
Despite the lockdowns across the US the DJIA is roaring ahead and has gone through the sharpest two week increase since 1938. But underlying economic data, 22 million job losses, a decline in industrial production and an even bigger decline in retail sales means the strength of the US stock market is just a house of cards. The US earnings season continues this week with IBM reporting Monday, Netflix, Coca Cola and Lockheed Martin tomorrow and AT&T, Delta Airlines and, Kimberly-Clark on Wednesday.