Asian stocks mix after Wall Street hike in oil prices

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BEIJING – Asian stocks were mixed on Friday after Wall Street won oil prices for the first time in three days despite lingering uncertainty about the length of the global economic downturn due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Tokyo and Seoul increased while Shanghai, Hong Kong and Sydney declined. Oil prices gave up on yesterday’s gains.

US stocks surged on Thursday after crude oil prices jumped 25% following President Donald Trump’s Twitter comment that he expects Russia and Saudi Arabia to withdraw from their war of falling prices. price.

The S&P 500 benchmark thus increased by 2.3%.

“As volatility slowly adjusts down, it seems that the extreme panic of the sale also seems to ease,” said Stephen Innes of AxiCorp in a report.

US stocks have risen despite more data showing that millions more Americans have lost their jobs.

Markets generally appreciate lower energy costs for businesses and consumers. But the steep drop to less than $ 20 this week from $ 60 earlier this year has sparked fears of default by heavily indebted producers, causing further damage to credit markets.

Trump has said on Twitter that he expects production cuts after speaking with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

At the end of trading Thursday, the benchmark US crude rose $ 5.01, or 24.7%, to $ 25.32 a barrel.

The energy values ​​of the S&P 500 increased by 9.1%. Oil services company Schlumberger jumped 10.2%, EOG Resources rose 10.7% and Occidental Petroleum jumped 18.9%, although for the year all three were down 50 % to 70%.

The S&P 500 rose 2.3% to 2,526.90. It fell 0.6% earlier Thursday after the US government announced that more than 6.6 million Americans had applied for unemployment benefits last week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 2.2% and the Nasdaq rose 1.7% to 7,487.31.

About one in 16 working Americans has applied for unemployment benefits in the past two weeks. Economists expect it to increase. Many investors are preparing for what could be the worst recession in their lives.

Traders expect more volatility until the number of new cases of coronavirus begins to decrease, which, according to forecasters, could occur in weeks.

The number of confirmed cases worldwide has exceeded one million, led by the United States with more than 236,000, according to a count by Johns Hopkins University.

More than 51,000 have died, but more than 208,000 have recovered.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, which go away within two to three weeks. For some, especially the elderly and people with existing health conditions, this can cause more serious illnesses, including pneumonia and death.

On Friday, US crude oil fell 98 cents to $ 24.34 in electronic commerce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude oil, used for the price of international oil, lost 90 cents to $ 29.04 a barrel in London.

The dollar edged up to 107.92 yen from 107.90 yen on Thursday. The euro fell to $ 1.0845 from $ 1.0856.

Joe McDonald, Associated Press

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