Germany’s DAX has hit a fresh record high of 15,235 points at the start of trading, and the blue chip index is continuing to climb:
It’s a lacklustre start across Europe, but stocks are broadly edging higher:
BREAKING: Climate activists have been arrested in London after windows were broken at the Barclays headquarters in Canary Wharf, according to Reuters.
The protests have been launched by activists from Extinction Rebellion, aiming to highlight the role of the financial sector in fuelling the climate crisis.
It comes a week after other activists splashed black dye on the facade of the Bank of England.
There are no details yet about how many protesters are involved. Will bring you more details as we get them.
Good morning, and welcome to our rolling coverage of the world economy, the financial markets, the eurozone and business.
European indexes including Germany’s DAX and the FTSE 250 are hovering near record highs, as investors reacted positively to upgraded global growth forecasts by the IMF, which said yesterday that a stronger than expected recovery from the Covid crisis was on the horizon.
The IMF said successful vaccine programmes, businesses adapting to the challenges of lockdown and Joe Biden’s $1.9tn (£1.4tn) stimulus package were helping to support the recovery.
And while Wall Street closed lower – with the Dow down 0.3% the S&P down 0.1% and the Nasdaq down 0.05% – both the Dow and S&P 500 are still within reach of record highs hit during Monday’s trading session.
It helped that US president Joe Biden announced an accelerated vaccine rollout, with all US adults to be eligible for jabs by April 19 (pushing up his earlier deadline of May 1 by about two weeks.)
US job opening figures, which increased 268,000 to 7.4 million as of the last day of February, are also helping support appetite across equity markets.
As Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Ava Trade, explains:
European and US stock futures are trading lower, but they are still hovering near their all-time high as investors remain optimistic about stimulus-supported recovery.
One particular takeaway from Joe Biden’s speech yesterday was that he has full confidence in his team.
This is because he mentioned that he hasn’t spoken to the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, Jerome Powell, for nearly two months.
This means that he is fully on board with the Fed’s monetary policy, which for the time being remains ultra-dovish despite the fact that we have seen more than decent recovery in the US labour market.
We’re expecting a positive start across Europe:
Meanwhile, PMI data is dominating the economic agenda, though the slower pace of the EU’s vaccine rollout is expected to confirm a further slowdown for its services sector.