Global stocks cut losses after US jobs report, oil picks up strength

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BEIJING (AP) – Global equity markets fell Friday after the US government said employers cut 701,000 jobs in March as they shut down or cut jobs due to the coronavirus epidemic.

European markets retreated after losses in most Asian countries. The Dow Jones industrial average future fell 77 points shortly after the report was released, down from 100 points at around 8:30 a.m.

The report comes a day after the government said that a record 6.6 million people had applied for unemployment benefits last week. The S&P 500 has dropped less than 1% so far this week, but is down 25% from the record it set on February 19.

In Europe, the FTSE 100 in London fell 0.9% to 5,431 and the DAX in Frankfurt remained stable at 9,574. The CAC 40 in Paris lost 0.8% to 4,187.

In Asia, the Shanghai composite index fell 0.6% to 2,763.99 and the Tokyo Nikkei 225 gained 1.5 points to 17,820.19. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong lost 0.2% to 23,236.11 after falling 0.8% earlier.

The Seoul Kospi finished unchanged at 1,725.44 after losing 0.6%. The Sydney S & P-ASX 200 fell 1.7% to 5,067.50 and the Indian Sensex lost 1.9% to 27,727.19.

Oil prices continued to rise after President Donald Trump said on Twitter that he expected major oil producers in Saudi Arabia and Russia to pull out of their price war. But by noon most of the Asian markets had retreated again.

US benchmark crude added $ 3.04 to $ 28.36 a barrel in ecommerce on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude oil, used to assess international oil prices, gained $ 4.92 to $ 34.86 a barrel in London.

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 sparked fears of default by heavily indebted producers, undermining credit markets.

American crude oil jumped $ 5.01, or nearly 25%, to $ 25.32 a barrel on Thursday following Trump’s comments. The Kremlin denied that President Vladimir Putin had talks with the prince, but Saudi Arabia called for a meeting of major producers, including Russia.

Traders expect more volatility in the financial markets 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.

The dollar rose slightly to 108.51 yen from 107.90 yen on Thursday. The euro fell to $ 1.0785 from $ 1.0856.

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