Markets rebound after last week’s dive

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Financial markets bounced back on Monday, buoyed by hopes that central banks will intervene to protect markets from the impact of the coronavirus.

The Dow Jones surged 5.1%, ending nearly 1,300 points higher, after more modest gains in Europe and Asia.

The rise came despite data showing that Chinese factory activity in February fell at the fastest rate on record.

The rebound followed the worst weekly performance for major stock markets since the 2008 financial crisis.

Investors have been worried about the impact of the coronavirus as it spreads outside of China. Already, the outbreak has led to travel restrictions, manufacturing shortages and reduced shopper demand in some countries.

On Monday, central banks in England, Europe and Japan made statements aimed at calming fears following last week’s market turmoil.

‘Closely monitoring’

“The Bank is working closely with HM Treasury and the FCA (Financial Conduct Authority) – as well as our international partners – to ensure all necessary steps are taken to protect financial and monetary stability,” a Bank of England spokesman said.

The European Central Bank said it was “closely monitoring developments and their implications for the economy, medium-term inflation and the transmission of our monetary policy”.

“We stand ready to take appropriate and targeted measures, as necessary and commensurate with the underlying risks,” it said.

The US Federal Reserve put out a similar statement last week.

The comments come as economic groups revise growth forecasts to account for the virus.

On Monday, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) said it expected growth of just 2.4% in 2020, down from 2.9% in November and warned that a longer “more intensive” outbreak could halve growth to 1.5%.

The 1,293 point increase on the Dow marked the biggest single-day points-gain for the index in history. The S&P 500 also rose more than 4.6%, while the Nasdaq gained about 4.5%.

Earlier, London’s FTSE 100 index closed 1.2% higher, while China’s Shanghai Composite index gained 3.2% and Japan’s benchmark index, the Nikkei 225, climbed 1%.

In the US, tech firms and consumer giants, such as Apple and Walmart, were among the biggest winners, while firms that have reported hits to business due to the coronavirus, such as Walt Disney, were weaker.

Monday’s trade was bumpy in a sign of continued trader activity. Last week included four of the top 10 busiest days of trade by volume in history, the New York Stock Exchange said.

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