Despite a second consecutive four-day week for much of Europe, last week saw markets carry over much of the momentum from the week prior with more positive performances. European equities finished the week up 1.1% while the FTSE 100 rallied by 2.7%. This was likely driven by the confirmation from Prime Minister Boris Johnson that England was going into its second phase of lockdown easing in tandem with a weakening sterling. Given much of the FTSE 100’s constituents benefit from international-based revenue, any weaking in the pound usually pays off in market performance.
Across the pond, US equities also finished the week on a new high after climbing 2.7% in response to some positive market data. More than 900,000 new jobs were created in March, nearly a third of which came from leisure and hospitality industries which are beginning to open again as well. President Joe Biden has also announced he is willing to negotiate the potential corporate tax hike which would be introduced to pay off his multi-trillion dollar infrastructure plan in a bid to get it passed through the Senate.
This being the second fiscal support in the trillions by Biden this year has added pressure on Europe to respond similarly. The European Central Bank is urging the region’s governments to prioritise their joint fiscal stimulus to respond to the less than optimal vaccine rollout and continued national lockdowns within much of the region.