Initial jobless claims fell to the lowest level since March 2020
Wall Street equities broke a three-day losing streak, finishing higher overnight after the latest U.S. jobs data showing fewer Americans filing for unemployment benefits. Initial jobless claims fell 34,000 to 444,000 in the week ended May 15, the lowest level of claims since March 2020. As such, the S&P 500 gained 1.06%, the Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.55%, and the technology-heavy Nasdaq climbed 1.77%.
Asian markets were mixed on Friday. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 index gained 0.78% despite the plunge in the services PMI from 49.5 to 45.7 that marked the largest drop since last April. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was just 0.155 higher, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng was unchanged, while the Kospi in Seoul declined 0.19% and the Shanghai Composite index lost 0.58%.
In Europe, stocks opened marginally higher, struggling for traction on Friday. The Stoxx Europe 600 index was 0.13% higher in early trade, indicating no change on the week. On the data front, the May flash IHS Markit purchasing managers composite output index for the Eurozone rose to a 39-month high at 56.9, with the services index at a 35-month high, while the manufacturing PMI slipped to a two-month low at 62.8. Further data on existing U.S. home sales for April are due later in the day.
Meanwhile, the dollar looks mixed following yesterday’s decline. The euro keeps clinging to the upper end of the trading range after the recent recovery. EURUSD is holding above the 1.2200 figure, suggesting further gains could lie ahead in the short term. In case of a downside correction, the pair will likely hold above the 1.2150 area. On the positive side, Eurogroup President Paschal Donohoe said that prospects for Eurozone are improving, and by summer they will reach 70% vaccinations in the EU.