European markets closed sharply higher Monday as the rate of new coronavirus infections appeared to slow in the region.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 provisionally closed 3.75% higher, with autos stocks climbing 9% to lead gains as all sectors and major bourses ended in positive territory.
Stocks were buoyed by data showing the rate of new coronavirus infections and deaths in the region was slowing.
Italy, which was the epicenter of Europe’s pandemic before Spain overtook it in terms of the number of cases, reported its lowest daily COVID-19 death toll for more than two weeks on Sunday, Reuters noted.
In Spain, the rate of new infections and deaths continued to decline, and Germany reported a slowdown in the rate of new cases on Sunday for the third day in a row.
This has led the German government to reportedly draw up a list of measures which officials think should allow life to return to normal after the country’s lockdown ends on April 19. These include an obligation to wear masks in public, limits on public gatherings and the rapid tracing of infection chains.
Meanwhile in the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to a hospital for tests Sunday, 10 days after it was revealed he had contracted the coronavirus. Johnson said Monday that he was “in good spirits” and had visited the hospital for “routine tests.”
On Wall Street, stocks rallied Monday as the coronavirus pandemic remained in focus for investors on both sides of the Atlantic.
Oil prices dropped on Monday, however, after the OPEC+ alliance of oil producers announced it was delaying a meeting at which it could agree to a production cut. Despite this, Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of Russia’s sovereign wealth fund RDIF, told CNBC that Moscow and Riyadh are “very, very close” to a deal on output cuts.
In terms of individual stocks, British security firm G4S saw its shares jump more than 15%, rebounding from their worst single-day loss in history on Friday, while gambling chain owner GVC Holdings also surged over 17% after halving the estimated damage to its profits from the coronavirus in 2020.
Rolls-Royce climbed almost 17% after announcing overall liquidity of £6.7 billion ($8.23 billion).