UK markets open in 3 hours 53 minutes

FTSE has best day on record as traders hope for US coronavirus bill

By August Graham, PA City Reporter

The 100 companies on Britain’s main stock index have added more more than £113 billion to their combined value, in the FTSE 100’s best ever day of trading.

The index jumped by 452.12 points, beating the previous record of 431 points, despite poor economic data earlier in the day.

It was a rise of more than 9%, the FTSE’s second-best day on record after November 24, 2008, when it gained 9.8%, according to data provided by AJ Bell.

It marks the first major rise since the outbreak of coronavirus, as US politicians prepare to pass what could prove to be a game-changing stimulus package.

The government in the US is expected to pump out as much as two trillion dollars (£1.7 trillion) to shore up businesses and employees.

Poor economic data, showing that the UK economy was contracting at its fastest rate since 1998, was not enough to dampen the mood.

Similar massive falls in the so-called Purchasing Managers Index (PMI) were also largely ignored by investors in other countries.

“Equities have been in the green since the European open, holding strong in the face of a series of far worse than forecast flash services PMIs, the blow cushioned by a run of consistently higher than expected manufacturing readings,” said Connor Campbell, an analyst at Spreadex.

Investors were also seemingly not worried by the massive shutdown that Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday, which will mean all but the most vital shops are forced to close.

But despite the massive gains, recent giant losses have not been erased.

At 5446 points the FTSE 100 is still well below its levels of about a month ago when it was above 7,400.

Cruise company Carnival was the index’s best performer at 28% up. It was followed by a series of oil and mining companies, including Shell, BP, Anglo American and Evraz, all of which rose by about 20% or more.