By Peter Nurse
Investing.com - European stock markets posted strong gains Monday, as the region’s economies reopen amid positive corporate news.
At 4:15 AM ET (0815 GMT), the DAX in Germany traded 2.7% higher, France's CAC 40 rose 2.4%, while the U.K.'s FTSE index was up 2.3%.
Shops, restaurants and hair salons have started trading again in Italy on Monday, while other centers of the outbreak, such as Spain and France, have gradually lifted restrictions that have plunged the region’s economy in a severe downturn.
"The economies of Europe and the U.S. likely bottomed out in April and are slowly starting to come back to life," said Barclays (LON:BARC)' economist Christian Keller, in a research note to clients.
"However, incoming data from most economies highlight the depth of the contraction, raising risks of longer-term scarring that might undermine the recovery."
Regulators across the Continent also signaled a return to normality by saying they will end the bans on short-selling that they imposed in March as panic struck.
Earlier Monday, data in Japan confirmed the world's third largest economy slipped into recession in the first quarter, putting it on course for its worst postwar slump as the coronavirus takes a heavy toll.
In corporate news, Total (PA:TOTF) stock climbed 6.2% after the oil producer called off plans to acquire Occidental Petroleum's (NYSE:OXY) assets in Ghana, citing “the extraordinary market environment and the lack of visibility that the group faces.” Instead, the group is to buy gas and power assets in Spain from EDP Energias de Portugal (OTC:EDPFY), in a deal valued at 515 million euros.
Fellow oil giants BP (NYSE:BP) and Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSa) also posted strong gains, 5.9% and 3.9%, respectively, as the price of crude continued to push higher.
At 4:15 AM ET, U.S. crude June futures traded 5% higher at $30.98 a barrel. The international benchmark Brent contract rose 4% to $33.80.
Accor (PA:ACCP) stock rose 3.4% after securing a new banking credit facility, as well as seeing some "initial signs of business improvement.” The French hotel company, like so many in the tourism sector, has been hit hard by the impact of the coronavirus.
Ryanair (LON:RYA) climbed over 8% after reporting on Monday reported a profit after tax of 1 billion euros ($1.08 billion) for the year to March 31. It added that it was unable to provide a forecast for the current year due to Covid-19 and cut its annual passenger traffic target by a further 20%.
German conglomerate Thyssenkrupp (DE:TKAG) jumped 5% after a source told Reuters it was in talks with international peers about a possible merger for its loss-making steel business.
Elsewhere, gold futures rose 0.8% to $1,770.85/oz, a new seven-year high, while EUR/USD traded at 1.0814, largely flat.