Europe Markets

European shares close 1.7% higher on tentative hopes the coronavirus may have peaked; Cineworld soars 50%

Key Points
  • There are hopes in Europe that the rise in the number of new infections and deaths each day is starting to decline.
  • Markets in Europe also reacted to the news last night that U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson had been moved to intensive care as his coronavirus symptoms worsened.
  • A spokesman for the prime minister said he was getting "standard oxygen treatment" but didn't require a ventilator or "non-invasive" respiratory support.

European markets closed higher Tuesday as investors hoped that the region could be seeing a plateau in the coronavirus outbreak.

The pan-European Stoxx 600 closed up 1.7%, with travel and leisure stocks surging 6.2% to lead gains, as all major bourses finished in positive territory.

Markets in Europe were also reacting to news overnight that U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson had been moved to intensive care as his coronavirus symptoms worsened. Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab is temporarily taking over the prime minister's duties while Johnson is hospitalized.

On Tuesday, a spokesman for the prime minister said he was still in intensive care and getting "standard oxygen treatment," but has not required a ventilator or "non-invasive" respiratory support.

Despite the high-profile illness of Johnson, there are hopes in Europe that the rise in the number of new infections and deaths each day is starting to decline.

Meanwhile, euro zone finance ministers are meeting on Tuesday to discuss additional funding support for the 19-member currency bloc.

In Asia, China's National Health Commission (NHC) reported 32 new cases, and no deaths as of April 6 — the first time the country posted no deaths since January when it started publishing daily updates. That brings the country's total to 81,740 confirmed cases and 3,331 deaths, according to the NHC.

Stocks on Wall Street also surged on Tuesday as sentiment was lifted by hopes that new cases of the coronavirus were beginning to slow down. 

Biggest movers

In terms of individual share price action, cinema chain Cineworld soared almost 50% after outlining its coronavirus plan on Tuesday morning, which will include cutting its dividend and a salary deferral for executive directors.

British property developer Hammerson and tour operator Carnival jumped 33% and 21%, respectively.

At the other end of the Stoxx 600, several stocks that have outperformed during the coronavirus downturn were lower during afternoon trade. French biotech firm Biomerieux and remote working software provider TeamViewer both shed around 4%, while German meal kit delivery company Hellofresh led losses on a decline of 9%.