Stocks rise as Trump's health remains in focus

·Senior City Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
·3 min read
President Donald Trump works in his conference room at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland, US, on Saturday. Photo: White House Photo by Joyce N Boghosian/Sipa USA/PA

Stocks rose on Monday, with investor attention still focused on the health of US president Donald Trump.

European markets opened in the green at the start of the week and US futures were heading higher. Analysts variously said equities were boosted by: hopes of an early hospital discharge for President Trump; the possibility of additional stimulus being passed in the US; and a poll over the weekend that gave Joe Biden a commanding lead in the presidential race.

The FTSE 100 (^FTSE) ended the day 0.7% higher in London, while the DAX (^GDAXI) was up 1.1% in Frankfurt and the CAC 40 (^FCHI) had gained 1% in Paris.

In New York, the S&P 500 (^GSPC) and Dow Jones (^DJI) were both up 1.3% by the time trade ended in Europe. The Nasdaq (^IXIC) was 1.6% higher.

Stocks had also rallied in Asia overnight. Japan’s Nikkei (^N225) rose 1.2%, the Hong Kong Hang Seng (^HSI) gained 1.5%, Australia’s ASX 200 (^AXJO) rose 2.6%, and the South Korean KOSPI (^KOSPI) rallied 1.3%.

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It came after somewhat mixed reports about the health of Trump over the weekend. He was admitted to hospital for treatment of COVID-19 after markets closed on Friday and he received steroid treatment for low oxygen levels over the weekend.

However, Trump has released videos and pictures on Twitter showing he was up and working. His team of doctors on Sunday said the president could be discharged as soon as Monday.

“According to the wires, this has helped S&P 500 futures to trade up +0.61% this morning but to be honest it could also be because a poll showed that Biden was 14pp up over the weekend,” said Jim Reid, a senior macro-strategist at Deutsche Bank.

A joint NBC-Wall Street Journal poll published on Sunday gave Biden his biggest lead so far of the campaign over Trump.

Fawad Razaqzada, a market analyst at ThinkMarkets, said: “Optimism has also grown that a fiscal stimulus deal can be reached soon, which the economy badly needs amid growing signs that the pace of the economic recovery post lockdown has slowed down quicker than expected.”

Naeem Aslam, chief market analyst at Avatrade, said news flow around the president’s medical condition would continue to dictate the path for stocks.

“There is no doubt that the primary focus among investors and traders is going to remain on Donald Trump’s health this week,” he said. “Any news about the improvement of his health is likely to bring relief to markets.”

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In London, cinema chain Cinworld tanked over 50% after announcing it would close its North American and UK branches due to a lack of blockbusters. FTSE 250-listed Cineworld has a $8bn debt pile and is now valued at only around £300m ($388m).

House builders buoyed the FTSE 100 and FTSE 250. Shares in builders rallied after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in an interview on Saturday that he was working on plans to help more people onto the housing ladder with 5% deposit mortgages.