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World stocks drift as wary investors expect grim U.S. jobs data

EconomyApr 02, 2020 08:20AM ET
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2/2 © Reuters. A currency dealer works in front of electronic boards showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index (KOSPI) and the exchange rate between the U.S. dollar and South Korean won, in Seoul 2/2

By Tom Arnold

LONDON (Reuters) - World stocks were mixed on Thursday, as the death toll from coronavirus rose and economic pain deepened, with another record week of jobless claims expected in the United States.

Investors sought the safety of the U.S. dollar, which hung on to recent gains. Oil futures surged after U.S. President Donald Trump said he expected Saudi Arabia and Russia to reach a deal soon to end their oil price war.

In Japan, the Nikkei index ended down 1.37%, taking its losses to 25% so far this year. European stocks made tentative gains, with the pan-European STOXX 600 gaining 0.5%. Wall Street futures added 1.8% after plunging overnight.

"U.S. jobless claims are expected to surge again, and in this environment we cannot talk about a recovery in equities in the short term. The best you can hope for is stabilisation in the current environment," said Francois Savary, chief investment officer at Swiss wealth manager Prime Partners.

In Europe, oil and gas stocks gained, with Royal Dutch Shell (LON:RDSa), Total SA (PA:TOTF) and BP (LON:BP) jumping 4% to 9.0%, thanks to the rise in oil prices.

Brent crude futures rose 11.0%, or $2.72, to $27.46. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures increased 10.14% or $2.08, at $22.39.

Trump said he had talked recently with the leaders of both Russia and Saudi Arabia and believed the two countries would make a deal within a "few days" to lower production and thereby bring prices back up.

Shares in British Airways owner IAG (LON:ICAG) added 3.0% after a person familiar with the matter said British Airways was in talks with its union about a plan to suspend around 32,000 staff so it can survive the coronavirus pandemic.

Euro zone government bond yields rose as investors cautiously moved back into riskier assets. The 10-year German government bond yield rose 4 basis points to -0.426%, pulling away from the lows of -0.55% touched on Monday.

The yield on safe-haven 10-year U.S. Treasuries - which falls when prices rise - fell as far as 0.5680%.

"There had been fears about the bond market blowing up, but for the time being there's a return to normal correlation in the market, so we don't see a vicious cycle where bonds bring down equities and equities brings down bonds," said Savary.

U.S. labour market data is likely to provide the next test of market sentiment and of the pain in the world's largest economy.

Initial claims for jobless benefits last week probably broke the previous week's record of 3.3 million, with 3.5 million expected, according to a Reuters survey of economists.

Goldman Sachs (NYSE:GS) said on Thursday it expected the U.S. jobless claims to jump to a record 6 million for March 22-28.

"Jobless claims will be the timeliest hard data point for assessing the depth of the recession and catching the start of the recovery," Goldman Sachs economists wrote in a note to clients.

DIFFICULT DAYS

China and South Korea have shown signs of controlling the virus, reporting falling numbers of new cases, but progress remains fragile and infections are soaring globally.

The World Health Organization said the global case count would reach 1 million and the death toll 50,000 in the next few days. It currently stands at 46,906.

Trump, who had initially played down the outbreak, told reporters at the White House on Wednesday that he is considering a plan to halt flights to coronavirus hot zones in the United States.

In currency markets, the dollar index against a basket of six major currencies stood flat at 99.625 after a gain of 0.53% overnight. The euro traded down 0.3% at $1.0934 as the dollar advanced.

Sterling reached a three-week high versus the euro and gained against the dollar on Thursday. It was last up 0.9% versus the euro at 87.81 pence per euro, its highest since March 11.

The Hungarian forint gained after the central bank used what analysts labelled an "implicit rate hike" to halt the slide of central Europe's worst-performing currency.

Spot gold fell 0.1% to $1,589.71 per ounce.

World stocks drift as wary investors expect grim U.S. jobs data
 

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Comments (8)
Charles Kao
ckao Apr 02, 2020 1:08PM ET
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Thought Saudi and Russia are allies aiming at hurting shale oil.  Are we asking salmon form a bear ?
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Apr 02, 2020 2:20AM ET
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According to survivors, the anti malaria drug works well against the virus and cost less than 20usd. But there is a huge resistant from “scientists”
Abdulla Shahid
Abdulla Shahid Apr 02, 2020 2:20AM ET
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So what about gold
Abdulla Shahid
Abdulla Shahid Apr 02, 2020 2:20AM ET
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Not scientists
Charles Kao
ckao Apr 02, 2020 2:20AM ET
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Any evidence or just another hear-and say ?
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Apr 02, 2020 2:18AM ET
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If the eu and us test all and isolate the sick, it would cost most much much less money and human lives.
Kaveh Sun
Kaveh Sun Apr 02, 2020 2:16AM ET
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If they test all americans, it will cost less than 20billions. They spent 2 trillions already. Test all is the answer.
sandeep varma
sandeep varma Apr 02, 2020 1:52AM ET
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Now a days Market move is pure speculations...as there is no reason market should go up...big players are trading as per their range..
john richards
john richards Apr 01, 2020 11:57PM ET
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People that have the truth on their side have no reason to lie or exaggerate.  Keep that in mind when read stuff about the healthiest people dying-all  the while the avg age of US dead is 80yo, with 80percent having underlying conditions.
Rational Optimistic
Rational Optimistic Apr 01, 2020 11:57PM ET
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Thanks for the reminder but the 80yos lives matter too.
Rodolfo Barraco
Rodolfo Barraco Apr 01, 2020 10:36PM ET
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This propaganda fueled paranoia has to stop. 500k died of influeza vs 50k of corona. No economy was halted for influenza. 10 times more people will die due to unemployement than for corona
Show previous replies (5)
Pete Palella
Pete Palella Apr 01, 2020 10:36PM ET
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200k die frim the flu in our country every year
Charles Taylor
Charles Taylor Apr 01, 2020 10:36PM ET
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Ohk dnt minimize movement and lets see how many people will corona ******in a year
Ollie North
Ollie North Apr 01, 2020 10:36PM ET
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Absolutely true, but it impossible to stop the Headlines that are clearly intended to spread mass hysteria.........the media is having a field day with the virus - reminds me of 9/11 news coverage.
Michael Hottman
Michael Hottman Apr 01, 2020 10:36PM ET
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Does anyone here actually do any research before posting? Between 2018-2019, the cdc estkmated there were 34,200 deaths from the flu. Doctors have been dealing with the flu for a very long time, so they can treat it. This coronavirus is completely new and doctors dont know hiw to treat it or prevent it from *******people. Also, the hospitalization rate of corona higher, length of stay is longer, and patients using resparators are on them for more days than a flu. Crowded hospitals and not enough beds means worse patient care and more deaths. Thats why the market is scared. This is not the flu.
Shawn Fegely
Shawn Fegely Apr 01, 2020 10:36PM ET
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I'm pretty sure me and my kid had it. We had fevers. They said the average person will not even know they have it. We went to visit my parents, Mom "the beneficiaries are here"
Trumpster Rocks
Trumpster Rocks Apr 01, 2020 8:11PM ET
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Don't believe this estimate of 100k low estimate for a Second! These estimates are all from Lib-tard projections that wish Trump was never in office! Total and utter left wing garbage!
Rational Optimistic
Rational Optimistic Apr 01, 2020 8:11PM ET
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whats your estimate then?
Roland Hara
Roland Hara Apr 01, 2020 8:11PM ET
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Are you foolish? Your beloved President said himself..
Triplicis Mundi Summum
Triplicis Mundi Summum Apr 01, 2020 8:11PM ET
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M/o/r/o/n/s who over-leveraged eary into the year are now crying fowl. Reality just b/i/t/c/h slapped you. Get over it.
Ludovic Raymond
Ludovic Raymond Apr 01, 2020 8:11PM ET
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What is your theory then? Are they issuing these high estimates to cover themselves, maybe?
 
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