The FTSE 100 index of Britain’s biggest companies finished up 0.47 per cent or 26 points at 5,480 at the close, with many investors still fearful of the long-term impact of the pandemic and lockdown.
It comes after a steady day which saw it open up 35 points, have a 41-point gain by 11.30am and be 24 points up by 1.30pm.
In the final few hours it suffered a slight fall before making further gains – before closing roughly at the level it had opened.
In the US, the Dow Jones went up 1.48 per cent or 310 points to 21,253 as hints of a deal between Russia and Saudi Arabia drove a record 30 per cent surge in oil prices.
This outweighed the shock of a jump in US jobless claims and a rising American death toll. Another 6.65 million US workers filed for unemployment benefits last week, the most ever recorded and nearly twice as many as economists had forecast.
Traders across the world are also concerned that countries are being forced to tighten already strict lockdown measures aimed at containing the virus.
But China and South Korea have shown signs of controlling the virus, reporting falling numbers of new cases, although progress remains fragile.
TODAY: The FTSE 100 finished up slightly today following a relatively steady day on the market
THIS WEEK: The FTSE rose on Monday and Tuesday – before falling yesterday, and rising today
LAST WEEK: The FTSE 100 index finished at 5,510 last Friday, rising 6 per cent overall last week
And the World Health Organization said the global case count will reach 1 million and the death toll 50,000 in the next few days. It currently stands at 46,906.
It follows the FTSE sliding 3.8 per cent or 217 points yesterday to close down at 5,455 – after two days of gains earlier this week and a 6 per cent rise last week.
Gains in global markets have been fuelled over the past fortnight by trillions of pounds in stimulus and widespread monetary easing by central banks.
The price of oil had risen overnight amid hints of an end to the price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia, and Japan’s Nikkei fell 1.4 per cent.
People walk past an electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index outside a bank today
Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force has warned the US could see almost a quarter of a million deaths and the President warned of a ‘horrific’ couple of weeks ahead.
His sobering comments came as a number of countries said they would extend lockdowns, which have already gouged economies around the world.
Adding to the unease on trading floors was a report saying China had masked the true extent of the virus in the country, which is just ending an extended shutdown.
John Porter, at Mellon Investments Corporation, told Bloomberg TV: ‘The incremental news on the virus in the last 24 to 48 hours has been disappointing.
Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force has warned the US could see almost 250,000 deaths and the President (in Washington DC yesterday) warned of a ‘horrific’ couple of weeks ahead
‘The global economy has hit a wall, there’s a tremendous amount of uncertainty, and that’s contributing to the volatility in the markets and the downward trajectory we’ve seen the last few days.’
Meanwhile Kay Van-Petersen, global macro strategist at Saxo Capital Markets in Singapore, added: ‘My viewpoint is that we’re still in a bear market and the US is not even close to pricing in the massive economic dislocation, let alone the deaths they’re going to find.’
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