Global stock markets saw modest gains on Thursday, October 22, following losses the previous session, with investors spooked by a sharp rise in coronavirus cases and continued uncertainty over a preelection stimulus package in Washington.
New York’s Dow gained 0.5%, oil was firmer as was the dollar, while the pound slipped after gaining on hopes that on-off-on-again post-Brexit trade talks might finally make some progress.
Better-than-expected new United States jobless benefit claims and another jump in home sales were welcomed, but analysts said the underlying economic situation remained concerning and made the case for a fresh stimulus package from Washington all the more pressing.
“With fiscal relief package hopes dimming, this situation is worrisome,” Gregory Daco of Oxford Economics tweeted.
David Madden, analyst at CMC Markets UK, said that while investors expect some sort of a package, eventually “there isn’t much hope that it will be achieved soon.”
The deadlock in Congress over the spending measure comes as coronavirus cases surge across the United States, with many Americans already struggling to pay the bills and observers fearful the economy could again be hit badly.
The White House has said it will agree to a $1.9-trillion package but that is $300 billion short of what Democrats have put forward, while Senate Republicans are increasingly opposed to passing such a large bill.
Analysts said markets have also been jolted by US Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe’s revelations that Russia and Iran have meddled in the election run-up, sending “spoofed” emails to Americans “designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest and damage President Trump.”
President Donald Trump and his Democratic challenger Joe Biden face off on the debate stage later on Thursday (Friday, October 23, Manila time) after their first encounter turned into a shouting match.
The pound gave up some of the strong gains won on Wednesday, October 21, against the dollar and euro on hopes of a post-Brexit trade deal between Britain and the European Union (EU).
EU negotiators headed to London on Thursday to resume talks after Britain called off a boycott, with both sides vowing to work round the clock to seal a deal in the short time left.
Britain meanwhile said it had agreed to a provisional trade deal with Norway, Switzerland, and two other non-EU partners to ensure continuity after its Brexit divorce from the European Union.
Key figures around 9 pm GMT
- New York – Dow Jones: UP 0.5% at 28,363.66 (close)
- New York – S&P 500: UP 0.5% at 3,453.49 (close)
- New York – Nasdaq: UP 0.2% at 11,506.01 (close)
- London – FTSE 100: UP 0.2% at 5,785.65 points (close)
- Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.1% at 12,543.06 (close)
- Paris – CAC 40: FLAT 0.1% at 4,851.38 (close)
- EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.3% at 3,171.41 (close)
- Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.7% at 23,474.27 (close)
- Hong Kong – Hang Seng: UP 0.1% at 24,786.13 (close)
- Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.4% at 3,312.50 (close)
- Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1818 from $1.1857 at 8:50 pm GMT
- Dollar/yen: UP at 104.90 yen from 104.58 yen
- Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3083 from $1.3145
- Euro/pound: UP at 90.03 pence from 90.19 pence
- West Texas Intermediate: UP 1.5% at $40.65 per barrel
- Brent North Sea crude: UP 1.7% at $42.46 per barrel
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