European stocks rose on Friday after US president Donald Trump told governors that they could choose to lift coronavirus restrictions in 14-day phases, giving investors hope that the world’s largest economy would begin to reopen.
“America wants to be open and Americans want to be open,” Trump said late on Thursday. “A national shutdown is not a sustainable long-term solution.”
Though the set of non-binding guidelines unveiled by Trump suggested that the US would return to work slowly over the course of several weeks and months, they give markets some sort of a roadmap as to how lockdowns could be eased across the country.
The strong opening in Europe followed gains for stocks in Asia, which were buoyed by better-than-expected economic data from China.
The Chinese economy contracted by 6.8% in the first quarter of 2020. While it was the worst performance in decades, the decline was not as stark as some analysts had forecast.
“There was a hell of a lot in play at the start of Friday’s European session, one that saw investors choose to take a positive look at the barrage of headlines they received overnight,” said Connor Campbell, a financial analyst at Spreadex.
Expectations of a larger decline in China gave investors a “paper-thin reason to take a chirpy view of the data,” he said.