NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) – World stock markets seesawed while bond yields retreated on Thursday as dire U.S. jobless data underscored a deepening downturn amid the coronavirus outbreak and tamped down investor hopes a listless economy would soon be back on its feet.
FILE PHOTO: The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is seen in the financial district of lower Manhattan during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, New York, U.S., April 13, 2020. REUTERS/Andrew Kelly
A record 22 million Americans sought unemployment benefits over the past month, with millions more filing claims last week in a stark sign of how deep the economic slump caused by the pandemic will be.
Morgan Stanley (MS.N) Chief Executive James Gorman told shareholders he “can promise” the bank will miss its medium-term financial targets again this quarter, as the lockdowns will continue to upend the global and U.S. economies.
Morgan Stanley posted a 32% fall in quarterly profit and it’s shares slid 0.3%.
With an “all-clear” nowhere in sight, seven Northeastern U.S. states extended a shutdown to contain the pandemic until May 15, even as President Donald Trump prepared to detail his plan to open businesses in the least-affected states as early as May 1.
The dollar hit a one-week high and U.S. Treasury yields fell for a third session as investors fled to safe-haven assets.
Investors are grappling with whether to be optimistic for when economies pull out of recession or to wait for a coronavirus vaccine and clear signs growth has fully recovered, said Anthony Saglimbene, global market strategist at Ameriprise.
“The stock market is forward looking and has discounted a lot of some of the really bad economic and earnings numbers that we’re going to get for Q1 and Q2,” Saglimbene said.
“It’s really about when we do reopen, what’s that curve look like? Is it a ‘V,’ is it a ‘U’ or is it a ‘W’? Our view is that it’s going to be slow recovery,” he said.
MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS shed 0.18% and its emerging market stock index lost 0.52%.
On Wall Street, stocks were mixed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 100.52 points, or 0.43%, to 23,403.83. The S&P 500 .SPX gained 1.55 points, or 0.06%, to 2,784.91 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 73.08 points, or 0.87%, to 8,466.25.
European shares rebounded, with the pan-European STOXX 600 index up 0.58%.
North Sea Brent, the global crude benchmark, rose, but West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, settled flat, with official data showing U.S. inventories surging to the most on record.
Investors had hoped that a buildup in U.S. inventories may mean producers have little option but to cut output as the coronavirus outbreak ravages demand.
Brent crude futures LCOc1 rose 13 cents to settle at $27.82 a barrel. U.S. WTI CLc1 settled flat at $19.87 a barrel.
Speculation mounted that the European Central Bank was looking to prevent further stress in the region’s debt markets where debt-to-GDP now looks set to top 150% this year.
“We have had this big wave of big announcements by governments and central banks, and now we need to get into the nitty gritty of how it all works,” said AXA Investment Managers chief economist Gilles Moec.
The dollar index =USD rose 0.397%, with the euro EUR= down 0.6% to $1.0842. The Japanese yen JPY= weakened 0.14% versus the greenback at 107.66 per dollar,
Policy-makers are starting to allow stringent lockdowns to ease, and firms are looking to restart as well. Germany is proposing reopening schools and some retailers starting May 4.
German carmakers Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) and Mercedes-Benz (DAIGn.DE) will restart production at some German factories next week and in other countries a week later.
Gold fell after climbing 1.3% earlier, as safe-haven demand weakened after U.S. jobless claims rose less than a week ago and hopes grew for an easing of coronavirus-led curbs.
U.S. gold futures GCv1 settled down 0.5% at $1,731.70 an ounce.
Asia had a more difficult session overnight. Tokyo’s Nikkei dropped 1.3% and MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS lost almost 1%, wiping out early week gains that had taken it to a one-month high.
The risk-sensitive Australian dollar AUD=D3 fell to a one-week low and commodity prices had struggled to rise against the expectation of cratering demand.
Additional reporting by Tom Westbrook in Singapore and Shadia Nasralla in London; Editing by Bernadette Baum and Jonathan Oatis