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Coronavirus: Stocks rise as Trump unveils plan to reopen US states

President Donald Trump speaks about the coronavirus, accompanied by Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Thursday, April 16, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
US president Donald Trump unveils his 'Opening Up America Again' plan at the White House. (Alex Brandon/AP)

Stocks rose on Friday after US president Donald Trump told governors that they could choose to lift coronavirus restrictions in 14-day phases, giving investors hope that the world’s largest economy would begin to reopen.

“America wants to be open and Americans want to be open,” Trump said late on Thursday. “A national shutdown is not a sustainable long-term solution.”

Investors were also buoyed by promising reports about antiviral drug Remdesivir, which is being used to treat coronavirus patients in a University of Chicago clinical trial.

US stocks opened in the green. The S&P 500 (^GSPC) was up by more than 1.9%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average (^DJI) climbed by 2%, while shares on the Nasdaq (^IXIC) rose by more than 1%.

Shares in Gilead Sciences (GILD), which makes Remdesivir, climbed by as much as 9%, even as analysts warned that the reports were largely anecdotal and come from an uncontrolled study.

READ MORE: Analysts warn against 'pretty picture' painted by Gilead's coronavirus treatment

The pan-European STOXX 600 index (^STOXX) was up by around 2.7%. London’s FTSE 100 (^FTSE) rose by 2.8%.

Germany’s DAX (^GDAXI) climbed by around 3.3%, while France’s CAC 40 (^FCHI) was 3.5% in the green.

Though the set of non-binding guidelines unveiled by Trump suggested that the US would return to work slowly over the course of several weeks and months, they give markets some sort of a roadmap as to how lockdowns could be eased across the country.

The strong opening in Europe followed gains for stocks in Asia, which were buoyed by better-than-expected economic data from China.

The Chinese economy contracted by 6.8% in the first quarter of 2020. While it was the worst performance in decades, the decline was not as stark as some analysts had forecast.

READ MORE: China's economy shrinks for the first time since records began

“There was a hell of a lot in play at the start of Friday’s European session, one that saw investors choose to take a positive look at the barrage of headlines they received overnight,” said Connor Campbell, a financial analyst at Spreadex.

Expectations of a larger decline in China gave investors a “paper-thin reason to take a chirpy view of the data,” he said.

Shanghai’s SSE Composite Index (^SSEC) rose by almost 0.7% on Friday, while the Hang Seng (^HSI) was up by more than 1.3% in Hong Kong at market close.

Japan’s Nikkei (^N225) climbed by 3.1%, while the KOSPI Composite Index (^KOSPI) in South Korea closed almost 3.1% in the green.