Euro boosted as huge EU stimulus plan propels global stocks

John Biers, Agence France-Presse

Posted at Jul 22 2020 08:42 AM

The photo shows Euro banknotes being taken out of a wallet in Dortmund, western Germany, on January 27, 2020.  INA FASSBENDER / AFP

NEW YORK -- Global stock markets mostly rose Tuesday along with the euro as EU leaders clinched an agreement on what they boasted was a historic rescue plan.

The 750 billion euro ($858 billion) deal was sealed after intense negotiations that saw threats of walkouts, vetoes and fierce opposition from the Netherlands and Austria.

"Deal!" tweeted EU Council Chief Charles Michel, whose job was to guide the talks over more than 90 hours.

The package sends tens of billions of euros to countries hardest hit by the virus, most notably heavily-indebted Spain and Italy, which had lobbied hard for a major gesture from their EU partners. 

"This is the most important moment in the life of our Europe since the creation of the euro" in 2002, French President Emmanuel Macron said.

The agreement boosted European bourses, including in Paris and Frankfurt, and also lifted the single currency to its highest level against the dollar since early 2019.

BK Asset Management's Kathy Lien said Europe has done much better than the United States at reopening its economy without igniting a spike in coronavirus cases, and that the package agreed in Brussels could add to that momentum.

"With the US economic outlook growing more uncertain, these steps to ensure a stronger recovery (have) and should continue to drive (the) euro higher," Lien said. 

Focus now turns to lawmakers in Washington who are looking to pass a huge new stimulus package, with key supplemental unemployment benefits set to expire at the end of July.

US stocks had a mixed session, with the Dow pushing higher behind gains in petroleum and banking shares, while the Nasdaq retreated from a record close.

Quincy Krosby, chief market strategist at Prudential Financial, said the pullback in Nasdaq was probably due to profit taking. 

Investors are hopeful that some of the US states with bad coronavirus outbreaks may be leveling off and that lawmakers in Washington will approve another round of stimulus, Krosby said.

"The package would help cushion the continued downside of the virus on the economy," she said.

Dow members Exxon Mobil and Chevron jumped 7.2 percent and 5.1 percent, respectively, as oil prices climbed to their highest level in four months after the European stimulus agreement was announced.

Another Dow member, Boeing, gained 2.4 percent as the Federal Aviation Administration said it would issue a proposed airworthiness directive for the 737 MAX, which has been grounded since March 2019 following two deadly crashes.

The FAA statement moves the MAX a step further on the recertification path after the agency on July 1 completed test flights on the plane.

© Agence France-Presse