European and Asian stock markets rebounded yesterday, with traders signalling that the tragic murder of a pro-Europe lawmaker in Britain could swing the upcoming referendum vote to remain in the EU.
London’s FTSE 100 was up 1.2% at 6,021.09 points, Frankfurt’s DAX 30 was up 0.9% at 9,631.36 points and
Paris’ CAC 40 was up 1.0% at 4,193.83 points at close. The EURO STOXX 50 was 0.8% at 2,842.74 points.
The pound was also firmer after campaigning was suspended following the murder on Thursday of Labour MP Jo Cox, one week before the June 23 referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union.
Following a week of largely heavy falls, stock markets rallied yesterday also thanks to eurozone finance ministers agreeing to unlock €7.5bn ($8.4bn) in urgently needed cash for Greece, dealers said.
Banking shares in particular were strong, with Barclays finishing up 4.6% in London and Societe Generale surging 6.6% in Paris.
In Milan, Banco Popolare soared nearly 17% higher, pushing the FTSE Mib index to close up 3.5%.
London’s benchmark FTSE 100 index as well as Frankfurt’s DAX 30 and the CAC 40 in Paris all gained around 1.0% by yesterday’s close.
Wall Street stocks however dipped on reports of a crackdown on Apple by China, offsetting rising optimism that Britain will vote to stay in the EU.
The Dow and the S&P both slipped 0.6% in mid-day trading in New York, while the tech-rich Nasdaq Composite dropped 1.0%.
With polls recently suggesting that the EU referendum outcome was too close to call, investors had until Thursday been piling into safe haven investments, notably the yen, gold and German government bonds.
Gold, which hit a near two-year high at $1,315.71 an ounce Thursday, fell back to $1,287.58 an ounce yesterday.
Britain’s bitter voting campaign was on hold yesterday for a second day as the nation reeled from the death of Cox, a 41-year-old former aid worker.
The advance of European stock markets “can be attributed to diminished fears of a UK exit from the European Union”, said Mike van Dulken, head of research at Accendo Markets.
Witnesses told local media that Cox had been repeatedly shot and stabbed.
A 52-year-old man, named by media as local Thomas Mair, was arrested.
Described by neighbours as a loner, there were indications that he had extreme right leanings.
Markets won a lift also from Greece receiving the bailout cash late Thursday, which came after thousands of Greeks protested in Athens a day earlier over new cuts imposed by Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras in return for the money.
The Banco Popolare logo is seen on a window of the bank’s branch in Rome. In Milan, Banco Popolare soared nearly 17% higher, pushing the FTSE Mib index to close up 3.5%.