Wall Street stocks rise on Thursday despite a record jump in unemployment, with roughly 6.6 million Americans filing for unemployment last week. Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 added 2.24% and 2.28% respectively while Nasdaq Composite gained 1.72%. US stocks were boosted by energy shares as oil rallied after President Donald Trump said Russia and Saudi Arabia would announce production cuts by about 10 million barrels. Earlier, oil rallied after China said it would buy it for its reserves.
But Asian equities failed to follow suit and the markets saw a mixed-to-negative session on Friday as oil prices retreated, and investors continued to keep a cautious tone amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Of note, Morgan Stanley has lowered its U.S. first-quarter GDP forecast to -3.4% from -2.4% and its second-quarter GDP forecast to -38% from -30%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 finished flat, China’s Shanghai Composite declined 0.60% while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index lost 0.19%.
In Europe, stocks dipped early on Friday as more companies reported a hit to business from the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, the ongoing rise in oil prices on hopes of a global supply cut capped losses in regional markets. The pan-European STOXX 600 index was down 0.64% since the start of the session.
On the data front, the European services PMI plunged to 26.4 against 28.4 initially reported. Germany’s index came in at 31.7, and France at 27.4, both below the original publications. Italy, the country most hit by the virus, reported a decline to 17.4. Dismal reports, albeit were expected to show weak results, added to the negative pressure in stock markets.
Meanwhile, crude oil prices have settled above $31 after a brief rally to $36 seen yesterday on Trump’s tweet. The sentiment in the market has improved somewhat due to the ongoing speculations about the potential supportive measures. However, the futures need some clear confirmations of actions so that to see a more sustainable and robust recovery from long-term lows.