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Coronavirus: European stocks rise after US senate passes $484bn aid package

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·Finance and news reporter
·2-min read
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US Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks during a press conference after a pro forma session where the Senate passed a nearly $500 billion package to further aid small businesses during the coronavirus pandemic, at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, April 21, 2020. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
US Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer speaks after senators passed a nearly $500bn coronavirus package. (Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)

European stocks climbed on Wednesday 22 April after the US senate passed a further $484bn (£393bn) coronavirus aid package that will bolster a small business loan programme and provide funding for hospitals and coronavirus testing.

The House of Representatives is on Thursday expected to pass the bill, which comes just weeks after US lawmakers passed an unprecedented $2.3tn coronavirus rescue package.

Funding for the loan programme, which is designed to help struggling businesses stay afloat, was quickly depleted before many firms could even apply.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index (^STOXX) was up by around 0.8%. London’s FTSE 100 (^FTSE) climbed by more than 1%.

Read more: UK inflation slowed just before coronavirus lockdown took effect

Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) was up by around 1%, while France’s CAC 40 (^FCHI) was almost 0.4% in the green.

Meanwhile, oil prices continued to tumble. The price of a barrel of brent crude was trading at around $17.19 per barrel after it hit its lowest level since June 1999 on Wednesday morning.

Crude oil (CL=F), which hit historic lows on Monday, also fell. June West Texas Intermediate futures fell 1.6% to around $11.38 per barrel.

The gains for Europe stocks followed a mixed trading session Asia.

China’s SSE Composite Index (^SSEC) rose by 0.6% on Wednesday and the Hang Seng (^HSI) was up by more than 0.3% in Hong Kong at market close.

Read more: Brent crude hits 1999 lows as oil prices continue to fall

But Japan’s Nikkei (^N225) declined by more than 0.7%, while Australia’s ASX 200 (^AXJO) closed marginally down.

“Asia markets have traded in a much more mixed fashion, despite the passing of another US fiscal stimulus bill of $484bn in the Senate last night,” said Michael Hewson, the chief market analyst at CMC Markets UK.

“Despite the declines in the US and Asia markets here in Europe have opened higher this morning, though after the big moves of the last couple of days this probably shouldn’t be too much of a surprise, with last night’s new US stimulus package helping to provide an uplift.”

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

S&P 500 futures (ES=F) rose by around 0.9%, as did Dow Jones Industrial Average futures (YM=F). Nasdaq futures (NQ=F) were up by almost 1%.

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