As this week’s markets opened, European companies caught a small breath of fresh air. On Tuesday, the pan-European STOXX 600 closed 1.7% above opening price on current estimates in the news media that the pandemic might have reached its peak on the continent. Payments companies both in Europe and in other countries have also been having a better couple of weeks in terms of share performance.

With Germany and Austria tentatively going for a reduced lockdown right after Easter and Denmark, Italy, Norway, and the Czech Republic also looking to take steps to ease isolation, optimism is coming back into markets as businesses consider opening again soon. Although the virus is still very much present on the continent, the fact that businesses could reopen in the foreseeable future is very encouraging.

Payments companies are at the centre of economic activity for both merchants and multinational corporations. This optimism spills into their share price performance, as we can see the opening prices for some of the largest players in the space performing much more strongly than they were towards the end of March.

cw pay - Outlook cautiously optimistic for payments as COVID-19 cases slow in Europe

Payments companies have so far weathered the storm better than most industries as people keep spending, albeit much more online rather than from brick-and-mortar shops.

With many European countries slowly paving the way towards a post-pandemic reality, businesses that have had to stay closed for the past few weeks will have the chance to open up again. Payments – and specifically cashless payments – will get a boost from lockdowns lifting, driving revenue upward. Even with the looming shadow of an economic recession, the outlook for payments firms is cautiously optimistic.