The coronavirus pandemic has resulted in the FTSE 100 marking its worst quarter since 1987, down by nearly 14%.
Britain’s top share index was up by 1.95% at the close of trading on Tuesday, a small upturn after weeks of volatility.
But it has lost a quarter of its value this year, despite a recovery of more than 15% from the lows seen in mid-March, when many countries ordered residents to stay home to stop the spread of the coronavirus.
Tuesday saw tentative gains for world markets on hopes the economic disruption from the pandemic would be weaker than some estimates fear, however.
UBS strategist Kiran Ganesh said: “What we’re really looking at the China data is to see if it’s an indicator of how quickly Europe and the US can get back to work potentially after their lockdown.
“If the lockdown ends in May, which is what we’re broadly pricing in, then we may see a similar path of what we’ve seen in China.”
A recovery in oil prices also stoked optimism, after US President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed to discuss stabilising energy markets.
Mid cap stocks recorded their worst quarterly decline – while the FTSE 250 index rose 3.3% on Tuesday, it is still down more than 30% this year.
Mazen Issa, a strategist at TD Securities, said in a note to clients: “This is the calm before the storm.
“Economic data this week will capture the early stages of a collapse.
“That, alongside no earnings guidance could spell trouble for risk assets.”
Among the losers were car manufacturer Aston Martin down 12.3% on Tuesday after announcing it was furloughing some workers due to coronavirus and travel and leisure stocks which have lost 45% in the first quarter.