Friday, May 17, 2024

Stocks open higher, putting market on track for weekly gain

by Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — Stocks are opening broadly higher on Wall Street, putting the market on track for its fourth weekly gain out of the last five. The S&P 500 index climbed 1.1% in the first few minutes of trading Friday, led by gains in technology and health care companies. Overseas markets were also higher. European indexes were up 1% or more, and Asian markets also closed higher. Traders were encouraged by a news report that China would speed up its purchases of farm goods to comply with a trade agreement with the U.S. Treasury yields rose, a sign that pessimism was easing among investors.

World stock markets turned higher on Friday despite concerns that a global economic recovery may be derailed by coronavirus infections.

Shares rose in most major markets and U.S. futures surged after Asia got off to a mixed start.

Global markets have recovered most of this year’s losses as investors look ahead to a possible rebound from the deepest economic slump since the 1930s. But analysts say gains might be too big and too fast to sustain. Enthusiasm has been dented by rising case numbers in Brazil, some U.S. states and other areas.

Germany’s DAX added 0.6% to 12,356.33 and the CAC 40 in Paris jumped 0.7% to 4,993.69. Britain’s FTSE 100 surged 0.8% to 6,275.12. Wall Street also looked set for gains, with the future contract for the S&P 500 up 0.7% at 3,118.60. The future for the Dow industrials gained 0.7% to 26,075.00.

The advance came as EU government leaders and heads of state are discussing the bloc’s future long-term budget and a multibillion-euro post-coronavirus recovery plan during a video summit aimed at paving the way for a compromise later this summer.

The European Central Bank said Thursday it has handed an unprecedented amount of stimulus, 1.3 trillion euros in cheap loans to banks, as part of its effort to get the 19-nation bloc that uses the euro through the pandemic.

Strong reassurances by central banks this week that more stimulus will be available to counter the worst global downturn since the 1930s appear to have assuaged some of the jitters over signs coronavirus outbreaks have gained momentum in many places.

“The market breadth of the S&P500 still appears to suggest that the bull momentum is intact,” Naeem Aslam of Avatrade said in a commentary.

In Asian trading, the Shanghai Composite Index leaped 1% to 2,967.63 and the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo added 0.6% to 22,478.79. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong picked up 0.7% to 24,643.89 and Seoul’s Kospi added 0.4% to 2,141.32.

The S&P-ASX 200 in Australia edged 0.1% higher to 5,942.60 and India’s Sensex advanced 1.3% to 34,824.94. New Zealand advanced while Singapore and Bangkok declined.

On Thursday, Wall Street’s benchmark S&P 500 edged up by 0.1% to 3,115.34 after flipping between small gains and losses through the day.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped 0.2% to 26.080.10, and the Nasdaq composite rose 0.3% to 9,943.05.

Markets worldwide gained after unexpectedly strong U.S. jobs and retail sales data fueled hopes the world’s biggest economy can pull out of its recession as governments ease up on anti-virus measures.

Investor enthusiasm has been dented, however, by concern rising infections in some U.S. states, Brazil and other regions might prompt consumers and businesses to pull back spending even if sweeping lockdowns aren’t reimposed.

The S&P 500 has cut its loss for the year to 8%.

In energy markets, benchmark U.S. crude gained $1.33 to $40.17 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract settled Thursday at $38.84. Brent crude, the benchmark for international prices, advanced $1.26 to $42.77 per barrel in London. It settled at $41.51 per barrel the previous session.

The dollar fell to 106.92 from Thursday’s 106.96. The euro rose to $1.1216 from $1.1213.

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