World Stocks Turn Higher Despite Worries Over Virus Rebound

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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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