FTSE 100 LIVE: Asian shares rise as hopes grow over slowdown of coronavirus spread

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan was up 0.6 percent, following a strong Wall Street close. Shares in China, where the novel coronavirus first emerged late last year, rose 0.54 percent. Australian shares were up 1.52 percent. It comes after Wuhan, where coronavirus was first reported in China at the start of the year, lifted its lockdown measures this week. 

Masayuki Kichikawa, chief macro strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Asset Management Co in Tokyo, said: “There are signs that infections are peaking, which is leading to the change in market sentiment.

“We still need to be very careful, because this is not purely an economic problem.

“It’s more like a natural disaster and, therefore, harder to predict.”

The S&P 500 gained 3.41 percent on Wednesday, helped by hopes the pandemic was nearing its peak. However, U.S. stock futures gave up earlier gains to be down 0.27 percent. 

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5.39am update: Trump gives US economy update amid coronavirus pandemic – ‘Open with a bang’

Trump, who is seeking to be reelected in the presidential election on November 3, wants to get the economy going again as soon as possible.

However, his medical advisers are urging the president to put these plans on hold as returning to normal life too early could lead to a second deadly outbreak.

Speaking at a White house news briefing Trump said: “We’re ahead of schedule.”

He said the economy could be reopened in phases.

However, Trump said he thought “it would be nice to open with a big bang.”

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