European markets traded higher Friday after a volatile week, as central banks and governments around the world adopt a “whatever it takes” approach to mitigating the economic hit from the coronavirus pandemic.
However, the dollar is enjoying its strongest week since the financial crisis and hammering currencies around the world, as investors continue a dash to cash in anticipation of a possible global recession.
Europe has now become the epicenter of the global coronavirus pandemic, with Italy’s death toll surpassing that of China, where the virus originated, and cases rising exponentially across the continent. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte has pleaded with the European Union to use its rescue fund to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic.
In corporate news, airlines continue to be crushed by falling demand amid the outbreak and associated border shutdowns. German carrier Lufthansa has grounded most of its fleet, and on Thursday warned that the industry may not survive the pandemic without government bailouts.
British retailer W.H. Smith jumped 22.6%, rebounding from a heavy run of losses after warning of the significant impact of the coronavirus to its businesses.
At the bottom of the European benchmark, British business process outsourcing giant Capita dropped 12.5%.