Wall Street stocks registered decent gains overnight after Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell pledged to keep rates near zero for as long as needed and provide additional help to the economy. Positive data from a potential coronavirus treatment from Gilead Sciences helped to overshadow a sharp drop in U.S. economic activity, with gross domestic product shrinking by 4.8% on an annualized basis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 2.2%, the S&P 500 added 2.7%, while the Nasdaq Composite advanced 3.6%.
In Asia, stocks rose amid positive developments overnight on a potential new treatment for coronavirus. On the data front, China’s manufacturing PMI arrived at 50.8 as compared to 52.0 in March versus 51.0 expected. The Shanghai Composite was up 1.33%, Japan’s Nikkei 225 jumped 2.14%, and the S&P/ASX 200 in Australia rose 2.39%. Markets in Hong Kong and South Korea were closed on Thursday for a holiday.
European stock markets opened higher but turned mixed afterward amid some signs of a waning optimism. Also, investors got cautious ahead of the ECB meeting despite the central bank isn’t expected to make any major changes when it announces its latest decision.
The greenback is mixed against the majors today. Most currency pairs have settled in limited trading ranges, struggling for direction in the short-term charts. EURUSD turned slightly negative on the day during the recent trading after being rejected from the 1.0890 area. As for the data, The Eurozone Q1 preliminary GDP came in at -3.8% versus -3.8% expected. Later in the day, traders will focus on the ECB meeting and US weekly jobless claims.
In other markets, Brent crude extends the rally and has already exceeded the $26 handle. Market participants are cheering some signs of a recovery in global energy demand as some countries are starting to ease restrictions imposed amid the coronavirus outbreak. Should the futures confirm a break above the mentioned level, the prices may target the $30 psychological level. However, profit-taking could prevent a more robust rally.