Equities bounce after Fed turns on taps

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jun 16 2020 08:04 PM

Equities bounce after Fed turns on taps 1
Reuters file photo

LONDON - Global equities shot higher Tuesday after the US Federal Reserve launched a massive stimulus program to support businesses hit by the virus lockdown, offsetting fears about a possible second wave of infections.

The stocks rally was rooted also in reports that US President Donald Trump is considering a $1.0-trillion infrastructure investment package.

Tuesday's gains helped wipe out some of the heavy losses suffered Monday caused by new virus cases around the world -- including in Beijing, Florida, Texas and Tokyo.

Investors were taking heart from easing lockdowns, with several European countries re-opening their borders and British shops trading again.

But the main driver of the gains was the Fed's Main Street Lending Program and an emergency lifeline under which the Fed will buy up to $750 billion in corporate bonds.

The Fed announcement saw all three main indexes on Wall Street finish higher Monday, and the positivity filtered through to Asia and Europe.

Tokyo's main stocks index had shot up almost five percent by its close Tuesday, winning an extra boost from a Bank of Japan move to ramp up aid for firms struggling with virus fallout.

Seoul surged more than five percent and Sydney almost four percent, while Hong Kong jumped 2.4 percent and Shanghai more than one percent.

Europe also fizzed higher, with Frankfurt soaring 3.2 percent by the half-way stage, Paris winning 2.6 percent and London adding 2.4 percent in value.

"The formal start of the Fed's corporate bond-buying program boosted global sentiment," said City Index analyst Fiona Cincotta.

"Adding to the seemingly addictive stimulus high, the Trump administration is weighing up a $1 trillion infrastructure spend to spur on the economy in the wake of the coronavirus crisis."

The Fed had in recent weeks stated that it was on the verge of rolling out the Main Street scheme, but held off as it expanded the criteria to reach more struggling companies.

The plan is part of a massive financial backstop put in place by the bank to protect the economy from the worst of the virus crisis. The government has also pledged trillions of dollars in stimulus support.

The US Chamber of Commerce called it "a lifeline for businesses that have been disrupted by the health and economic consequences of COVID-19".

Fed boss Jerome Powell was meanwhile to give two days of congressional testimony, starting Tuesday.

He caused ructions on markets last week with a sobering warning about the economic outlook.