March 13, 2020 / 8:41 AM / 18 days ago

FTSE defies Friday the 13th gloom with rebound amid virus fears

(Reuters) - London stocks rose on Friday as moves by policymakers to limit the economic hit from the coronavirus pandemic fuelled a rebound, a day after the worst selloff of the blue chip index since the 1987 “Black Monday” crash.

FILE PHOTO: A man wearing a protective face mask walks past the London Stock Exchange Group building in the City of London financial district, whilst British stocks tumble as investors fear that the coronavirus outbreak could stall the global economy, in London, Britain, March 9, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville

The blue-chip FTSE 100 .FTSE rose 1.7%, but posted its worst week since the global financial crisis in 2008.

Helping the slight move upwards on Friday were miners and supermarket chains.

“Having suffered its worst day of trading in more than 30 years the FTSE 100 at least started Friday 13th in positive territory,” said AJ Bell investment director Russ Mould.

Global equities were hammered on Thursday after U.S. President Donald Trump shocked investors with a move to restrict travel from Europe, and an ECB decision to hold off on interest rate cuts added to panic about a liquidity crunch.

A rebound on Wall Street on Friday fizzled out after reports that President Donald Trump was set to declare a national emergency to tackle the rapidly spreading coronavirus outbreak.

Emergency actions including the Bank of England’s 50 basis point interest rate cut and the UK government’s 30-billion-pound ($39 billion) stimulus plan have failed to reassure investors about economic growth.

Traders are now hoping that U.S. lawmakers and the White House will agree on a stimulus package, expected to be announced on Friday.

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has postponed May’s local and mayoral elections in England for a year due to the coronavirus outbreak, the BBC said on Friday.

Travel stocks continued to be the worst hit, with Carnival Corp (CCL.L) tumbling almost 10% to its lowest level since 2009 after its unit, Princess Cruises, said it would suspend the voyages of all its 18 ships for two months.

Carnival ended the session at the bottom of London’s blue chip index, followed by travel firm TUI (TUIT.L).

“The day was definitely still unlucky for some, cruise operator Carnival was one of the few large cap fallers as investors reacted to the UK Government advice for over 70s and people with underlying health conditions not to take cruises,” Mould said.

Online supermarket Ocado (OCDO.L) ended the week 5.4% higher, the only weekly gainer among FTSE blue chips.

The domestically focused FTSE mid-cap index .FTMC was down just 1.2%, capping its worst week since 1987's "Black Monday".

Cinema operator Cineworld (CINE.L) sank 32.4% to the bottom of the mid-cap index amid continued concerns over the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on its business. Oil producer Premier Oil (PMO.L) surged 26%, after eyeing at least $100 million in potential savings on its annual capital spending plans to adjust to the plunge in global crude price. [O/R]

Miners Rio Tinto (RIO.L), BHP group BHP.L and Anglo American (AAL.L) jumped more than 7% and were the top gainers on the main index.

Additional reporting by Sruthi Shankar Editing by Anil D'Silva and Mark Heinrich

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