Global Stocks Make Gains Thursday 04/02 05:53
Major global stock markets and U.S. futures rose Thursday following a rocky
start to the day after a White House warning that as many as 240,000 Americans
might die of the coronavirus sent Wall Street tumbling.
BEIJING (AP) -- Major global stock markets and U.S. futures rose Thursday
following a rocky start to the day after a White House warning that as many as
240,000 Americans might die of the coronavirus sent Wall Street tumbling.
London and Frankfurt opened higher. Shanghai gained 1.7%, Seoul added 2.3%
and Hong Kong also rose after spending the day swinging between gains and
losses. Tokyo sank 1.4% and Sydney also declined.
The White House said 100,000 to 240,000 Americans might die of the virus
even if the country avoids shopping and other public activities through April.
That added to anxiety among investors who are trying to figure out how long and
deep this history-making global economic downturn might be.
"Fear, fear and more fear descended upon the market," said Jingyi Pan of IG
in a report.
Traders say markets will be turbulent until numbers of new cases decline,
but Pan said that "still looks to be a distance away."
In early trading, the FTSE 100 in London gained 0.8% to 5,498.95 and
Frankfurt's DAX added 0.2% to 9,568.67. The CAC 40 in France advanced 0.5% to
On Wall Street, futures for the benchmark S&P 500 Index and Dow Jones
Industrial Average were up 2.1%.
On Wednesday, the S&P 500 lost 114.09 points to 2,470.50. The index is
coming off its worst quarter since 2008 with a 20% loss.
The Dow lost 4.4% to 20,943.51. The Nasdaq composite fell 4.4% to 7,360.58.
In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index gained to 2,780.64 and Hong Kong's
Hang Seng added 0.8% to 23,280.06. Tokyo's Nikkei 225 declined to 17,818.72.
The Kospi in Seoul advanced to 1,724.86 while Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 slipped
2% to 5,154.30.
New Zealand retreated while Singapore, Bangkok and Jakarta rebounded from
early losses to close higher.
The hardest-hit U.S. stocks included banks, utilities and other dividend
Department store icon Macy's has lost 74% in 2020. So much of its stock
value has vanished that it was removed from S&P 500 index of big U.S.
companies, effective Monday. It is being moved to the small-stock index.
U.S. investors were rattled by mounting evidence of the virus's impact on
major companies and the economy as a whole.
Economists expect the next batch of U.S. jobless claims, due to be reported
Thursday, to blow past last week's total of nearly 3.3 million initial claims.
That was quintuple the prior record.
"The number of unemployed is set to surge and 1H growth will be heavily
affected," said Mizuho Bank in a report.
The number of infections is rising despite anti-disease controls that have
shut down much of the global economy.
There are more than 911,000 confirmed cases worldwide, led by the United
States with more than 206,000, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as
fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older
adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe
illness, including pneumonia, and death.
The U.S. Congress last week agreed on a $2.2 trillion economic aid package
and the Federal Reserve promised to buy as many Treasurys as needed to keep
credit markets running smoothly.
Legislators are collecting ideas for a possible new round of aid. President
Donald Trump tweeted his support for a $2 trillion infrastructure package. But
top Republicans in Congress say they first want to see how well their newly
approved programs do.
In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude gained $1.47 to $21.77 per barrel in
electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, used to
price international oils, rose $1.97 to $26.71 per barrel in London.
The dollar gained to 107.26 yen from Wednesday's 107.15 yen. The euro
declined to $1.0921 from $1.0965.