European and US stocks suffer following stimulus delays

The leading indices throughout Europe and North America have fallen in Friday trading, with stimulus measures on both sides of the Atlantic halted by political disputes.

After three days of consecutive gains, by mid-afternoon trading (GMT) the FTSE 100 stands at 5491.87, down 5.57 per cent, the pan-European Euro Stoxx 50 has fallen 4.82 per cent to 2710.40, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average has dropped 3.21 per cent to 21927.82.

On Thursday, March 26, European Union leaders failed to agree on how best to bolster the economies of those countries worst-affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. Italy, Spain and Germany currently lead the way with 80,589, 64,059 and 49,344 confirmed cases respectively.

While the European Central Bank has moved towards unlimited quantitative easing by eliminating its cap on the amount of bonds it can buy from any single eurozone nation, investor confidence has been dented by the news that EU policymakers have given themselves two more weeks to finalise the details of any agreement.

With 14,579 confirmed cases, including the prime minister Boris Johnson and the health minister Matt Hancock, the United Kingdom continues to be increasingly affected by the pandemic, both medically and economically. Travel and Leisure firms have particularly suffered in Friday trading, with Carnival (CCL), Flutter Entertainment and Intercontinental Hotels falling 19.37, 10.20 and 8.84 per cent respectively.

A similar situation has followed in the US with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Carnival and Royal Caribbean Cruises plunging 20.05 per cent, 17.57 per cent and 16.25 per cent. After overtaking China in terms of confirmed coronavirus cases and witnessing a record surge in unemployment it is perhaps unsurprising that America’s three-day stock rally has ended.

Fears that the vote on the largest stimulus package in Amerian history could be delayed by one intransigent Kentucky congressman have not helped to bolster market confidence.

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