European stocks and U.S. futures jump amid tentative signs of Italy curbing virus spread – MarketWatch

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European stocks rose on Tuesday amid tentative signs that the coronavirus spread is slowing in Italy, one of the worst-hit countries, as negotiations continued on a U.S. stimulus package.
The Stoxx Europe 600
SXXP,
+5.14%

jumped 5% and the German DAX
DAX,
+6.41%

rallied nearly 7%.

The jump came even as data showed the worst-ever reading of the purchasing managers index in the eurozone. Flash composite PMI plunged to 31.4 in March from 51.6, on a scale where any reading below 50 indicates contraction.
Markets rallied across Asia. The Nikkei 225
NIK,
+7.13%

jumped 7.1% in Tokyo and the South Korean Kospi Composite
180721,
+8.60%

rose nearly 9%. U.S. stock futures
ES00,
+5.09%

also surged.

Both new cases and deaths dropped for two days in Italy. “It means it took Italy 43 days from first case to peak case and 12 days after implementing the strictest travel restrictions. 43 days was exactly the same amount of time as it took South Korea to reach its apex. And if such is the case, the U.S. would be 14 days behind Italy, “ said Thomas Lee, head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors.
The head of Germany’s public health institute separately said the infections rate in Europe’s largest economy was levelling off.
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U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Monday imposed a virtual lockdown, advising citizens to only leave homes for essential shopping, healthcare and daily exercise.
The U.S. Senate still couldn’t reach agreement on a stimulus bill for households and businesses. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said from the Senate floor that he had “very good” discussions with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who is leading the talks on the Republican side, and that the list of outstanding issues has narrowed “significantly.”
The backdrop for the gains came as the Federal Reserve on Monday said it would buy an unlimited amount of Treasurys and mortgage-backed securities, starting with $125 billion every business day this week.
Of stocks in the spotlight, bioMérieux
BIM,
+6.97%

jumped 8% after saying the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved its COVID-19 test for use in moderate and high complexity clinical laboratories.
Pernod Ricard, the French spirits maker,
RI,
+1.78%

is now forecasting a 20% drop in organic profit from recurring operations in the current fiscal year, vs. a February estimate of growth between 2% and 4%. Pernod shares rose 3.8%.

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