Investors shake off virus impact as shares hit new highs

3) The failure to electrify thousands of miles of railway threatens Boris Johnson’s promise to make Britain the cleanest country on earth, industry leaders have warned. Rail chiefs have written to Transport Secretary Grant Shapps urging him to press on with electrification so that the industry can cut out carbon emissions by 2040.

4) Beales to shut remaining 11 department stores: The company made a further 20 staff redundant at its head office in Bournemouth with hundreds of jobs at risk.

5) Donald Trump has pardoned financier and philanthropist Michael Milken, the face of financial scandals in the Eighties. The US president said that the “junk bond king”, who was convicted of securities fraud, had done an “incredible job” supporting cancer research.

What happened overnight

Asian stocks and US and European equity futures recouped some of Tuesday’s losses after signs that China may be planning to offer more support

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World facing worst economic crisis since Great Depression

The global coronavirus pandemic has inflicted an economic crisis unlike any in the past century and will require a massive response to ensure recovery, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said on Thursday.

The warnings about the damage inflicted by the virus already were stark, but Ms Georgieva said the world should brace for “the worst economic fallout since the Great Depression.”

With nearly 89,000 deaths in 192 countries and territories and the number of cases now surpassing 1.5 million worldwide, much of the global economy has been shut down to contain the spread of the virus.

The International Monetary Fund expects “global growth will turn sharply negative in 2020,” with 170 of the fund’s 180 members experiencing a decline in per capita income, Georgieva said.

Just a few months ago, the fund was expecting 160 countries to see rising per capita income, she said in a speech previewing next week’s spring

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