March 20, 2020 / 8:42 AM / 18 days ago

London stocks surge as more fiscal measures eyed

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* FTSE 100 up 3.9%, FTSE 250 gains 5.7%

March 20 (Reuters) - London’s stock markets surged back into the black on Friday, as investors eyed fresh government support for companies facing financial strain in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The blue-chip FTSE 100 jumped 2.7%, with shares in Holiday Inn owner IHG soaring 8.9% after it announced a series of measures to cut costs and ride out the worldwide shutdowns and travel restrictions.

Travel stocks including Easyjet and Carnvival Corp also rose.

Finance minister Rishi Sunak is set to outline plans to prop up companies and workers, with reports saying he is considering tax holidays for companies and reversing the pay-as-you-earn tax system to funnel directly cash to companies so they can keep paying staff.

The Bank of England cut borrowing costs to record low on Thursday and promised 200 billion pounds of bond purchases, in a second emergency move to cushion the impact of the outbreak.

Energy stocks such as Royal Dutch Shell and BP gave the biggest boosts to the FTSE 100 as oil prices jumped after U.S. President Donald Trump hinted he may intervene in the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia at an “appropriate time”.

Reporting by Sruthi Shankar and Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D'Silva

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