Coronavirus: European stocks climb as factories rebound in China

Edmund Heaphy
Finance and news reporter
A worker examines parts at a factory in Beijing. Chinese industrial production rose faster than expected in April. (Ng Han Guan/AP)

European stocks looked set to close out the week in the green on Friday after new data from China showed that the country’s factories recovered faster than expected in April.

Chinese industrial production rose 3.9% compared with the same month in 2019, ahead of analyst forecasts of just 1.5%.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index (^STOXX) was almost 1.2% in the green. London’s FTSE 100 (^FTSE) rose by around 1.3%.

Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) also climbed by around 1.3%, while France’s CAC 40 (^FCHI) rose by 1%.

Stocks in Asia broadly climbed on Friday, even as stocks in China were weighed down by the prospect of a spike in unemployment in the country and a fragile recovery in the services sector.

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China’s SSE Composite Index (^SSEC) fell by less than 0.1% on Friday and the Hang Seng (^HSI) was up marginally in Hong Kong at market close.

Japan’s Nikkei (^N225) closed 0.6% in the green, while the KOSPI Composite Index (^KOSPI) in South Korea rose by more than 0.1%. Australia’s ASX 200 (^AXJO) was up by more than 1.4%.

The data from China paints “a story of a supply-led recovery under pressure from the government, while demand remains anemic and a low unemployment rate,” said Sebastian Galy, a senior macro strategist at Nordea Asset Management.

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“As that demand filters through and inventories are used, they are met by rising inventories from factories that depress prices. If we had to make a guess, unemployment in the sense of the non-employed is likely around 12% and that is a significant issue,” he said.

Futures were also pointing to a higher open for US stocks on Friday.

S&P 500 futures (ES=F) rose by more than 0.3%, as did Dow Jones Industrial Average futures (YM=F). Nasdaq futures (NQ=F) were up by more than 0.5%.