Wall Street stocks rose overnight despite the worst jobless claims data on record. Initial jobless claims soared to a seasonally adjusted 3.28 million in the week ended March 21, the highest number of initial jobless claims in history. However, investors shrugged off the dismal figures as the markets were probably ready for bad results.
Meanwhile, U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said that the central bank will not run out of ammunition to keep the economy stable. As such, the Dow finished up 6.4% while the S&P 500 ended the day up 6.2%, and the Nasdaq was up 5.6%.
In Asia, stocks rose modestly, as risk demand started to wane gradually on Friday. The MSCI Asia ex-Japan index rose 0.25% while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 dropped 5.3%. The Bank of Japan announced additional measures as a part of its bond-buying program while the Reserve Bank of India announced an emergency rate cut. Japan’s Nikkei 225 rose by nearly 4% by the end of the session. On the data front, China’s industrial profits for January-February plunged 38.3% year-on-year.
Meanwhile, European stocks opened lower as investors focused on the continuing spread of the coronavirus, which has now infected more than 533,000 people worldwide. Also, on the negative side is the news that the European Union leaders failed to agree on how best to shore up economies hit by the coronavirus. At the same time, leaders of the G20 economies have vowed to pump over $5 trillion into the global economy in a coordinated effort to curb the negative spillover from the outbreak. The pan-European Stoxx 600 fell 2.5% today, as most equities have settled in the negative territory.
As for currencies, the selling pressure surrounding the greenback has eased along with risk demand. As a result, the euro was rejected from the 200-DMA just below 1.11 and is challenging the 1.10 handle again. The cable is off nearly two-week highs around 1.23 while USDJPY has trimmed its intraday losses after a bounce from the 100-DMA around 108.20. should risk sentiment deteriorates further in the near term, European currencies may suffer some losses by the end of the day. Later in the day, USD pairs may be affected by economic updates out of the United States.