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Stocks jump on virus slowdown hopes, but oil slips on oversupply

Equity investors took solace on Monday (April 6) as the death toll from Covid-19 slowed across major European nations including France and Italy.

The benchmark STOXX 600 index was up nearly 3 percent in early deals.

Italian and French bourses jumped 3.5% and 3.4%, respectively.

With business activity in the region grinding to a halt, companies have been forced to suspend dividends.

British aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce is one of the latest.

It scrapped its final dividend on Monday, but its shares jumped over 10% after it said it had secured an additional $1.8 billion in reserves to weather a prolonged downturn.

London's FTSE 100 was up nearly 3 percent in morning trade, but was underperforming its European peers on news that British Prime Minister Boris Johnson was admitted to hospital 10 days after testing positive for the virus.

In Asia, Japan's Nikkei added over 4%, while South Korea's KOSPI and Hong Kong's Hang Seng both jumped higher.

Markets in mainland China were closed for a public holiday.

There were worries that the number of new cases jumped in China on Sunday (April 5) while the number of asymptomatic cases surged too as Beijing struggles to extinguish the outbreak.

In commodity markets, Brent crude fell after Saudi Arabia and Russia postponed their meeting, even as the virus pandemic pummels demand.