European stocks posted their third straight weekly advance, with the Dow Jones STOXX 600 Index completing its biggest annual increase in a decade as the global economy recovered from its worst recession since World War II.
Basic-resources companies and banks, the worst-performing industry groups in 2008, led gains in the measure, surging 100 percent and 46 percent last year, respectively. Kazakhmys PLC, Kazakhstan’s biggest copper producer, soared 475 percent, as the price of the metal more than doubled. Natixis SA, the investment-banking unit of France’s second-largest lender by branches, climbed 184 percent.
The STOXX 600 rose 28 percent to close the year at 253.16, having posted a 0.5 percent gain in the holiday-shortened week as China raised its economic growth forecast. The measure rebounded 60 percent from the 2009 low in March amid record-low interest rates in the US and Europe and as governments committed about US$12 trillion worldwide to revive credit markets and stimulate growth. The S&P 500 gained 23 percent last year.
National benchmark indexes rose in all of the 18 western European markets except Iceland last year. The north Atlantic island is the Western nation hardest hit by the global credit crisis, and needed to turn to the IMF for a US$2.1 billion loan to avert a default.
Norway’s OBX was the best performer, gaining 70 percent as higher oil prices lifted oilfield-services companies including Seadrill Ltd and Petroleum Geo-Services ASA, which both more than doubled.
The UK’s FTSE 100 climbed 22 percent, and on Tuesday became the first equity market among the biggest developed economies to recover its loss following Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc’s bankruptcy in September 2008. The UK joined Hong Kong, Norway, Portugal, Singapore, Spain and Sweden as the only nations among 23 developed markets that have recouped all of their post-Lehman losses.
Malaysian authorities have advised women to wear makeup, not to nag their husbands and speak with a cartoon character’s soothing voice during the virus lockdown, sparking a flood of mockery online. Like many countries, Malaysia has ordered all citizens to stay at home to stem the spread of COVID-19, which, as of yesterday, had killed at least 39,070 people globally. In a series of online posters with the hashtag #WomenPreventCOVID19, the Malaysian Ministry of Women and Family Development issued advice on how to avoid domestic conflicts during the partial lockdown, which began on March 18. One of the campaign posters depicted
KEEP AWAY: People should wear a mask in places where they cannot follow social distancing rules, the CECC said, adding that it would publish detailed guidelines today The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday announced 16 new cases of COVID-19, including two domestic cases, as it urged people to practice social distancing in public spaces by keeping a distance of at least 1m when outdoors and 1.5m indoors. Minister of Health and Welfare Chen Shih-chung (陳時中), who heads the center, said that seven of the new cases tested positive upon their arrival at the airport, four were under home quarantine, one was under home isolation and two were under self-health management, while the two domestic cases sought treatment on their own. The domestic cases are a man in his
Taiwan will negotiate with the WHO about its participation without Beijing’s help and intervention as more countries, including Australia and Japan, are partnering with Taiwan to curb the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said yesterday. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a telephonic roundtable with reporters on Monday also supported Taiwan’s role in the WHO, saying the US Department of State would do its best to assist Taiwan’s “appropriate role” in the world’s highest health policy setting body, Voice of America reported. In a Japan Business Press report published on Sunday, Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou (孔鉉佑) said
Japan’s ruling party yesterday proposed the nation’s biggest-ever stimulus package of ￥60 trillion (US$554 billion) as the COVID-19 pandemic locks the economy in a recession. The sum includes ￥20 trillion in fiscal measures with private initiatives and other elements likely making up the rest, the proposal by the Liberal Democratic Party showed. More than ￥10 trillion, or the equivalent of a 5 percentage point cut in the sales tax rate, would be handed out to the public in a combination of cash, subsidies and coupons, the plan showed. The proposal puts an initial figure on a stimulus package that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo