Wall Street stocks finished mixed on Thursday after the number of jobless claims came in higher than expected and coronavirus case numbers continued to climb further. According to the Labor Department data, US weekly jobless claims hit 1.5 million last week versus the consensus estimate of 1.3 million. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 0.2%, the S&P 500 rose 0.1%, and the Nasdaq Composite Index closed up 0.3%.
Asian stocks were mostly higher on Friday. On the one hand, market sentiment has been supported by aid from central banks and some strong economic data including U.S. jobs and retail sales reports. On the other hand, coronavirus-related concerns continue to cap the upside potential in stocks these days. The Shanghai Composite Index rose 0.4%, the Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 0.1% and Seoul’s Kospi shed 0.4%. The S&P-ASX 200 in Australia added 0.8%.
In Europe, equities gained today as investors monitor the recent coronavirus-related developments in various countries. The pan-European Stoxx 600 climbed 0.4% in early trade. In individual stocks, Germany’s Wirecard saw its shares fall another 43% in early trade on Friday after a plunge by 60% yesterday, as the auditor EY refused to sign off on its 2019 full-year accounts due to a missing $2.1 billion. On the data front, U.K. retail sales for May were down 13.1% year on year versus +17.1% expected. On a monthly basis, retail sales were up 12%. Now, market focus is shifting to a European Union summit where the regional leaders will discuss a 750-billion-euro coronavirus recovery fund.
Elsewhere, major currency pairs are little changed on Friday. EURUSD briefly dipped below the 1.12 handle yesterday and has settled around this significant support since then. Traders express a cautious tone ahead of the EU virtual meeting that could set further tone for the common currency. The pair is set to finish this week in the red after failed attempts to break above the 200-weekly moving average around 1.1330. If the euro fails to regain the 1.13 handle in the near term, downside risks could increase.