TOKYO (AP) — Global stock markets were mostly higher on Thursday on optimism that U.S. stimulus may be coming after all, as President Donald Trump appeared to reverse his earlier decision to halt talks on another economic rescue effort.
U.S. shares appeared set to rise, with the future contract for the Dow industrials up 0.5% and S&P 500 futures up 0.4%. France’s CAC 40 edged 0.5% higher to 4,905 while Germany’s DAX gained 0.6% to 13,009. Britain’s FTSE 100 added 0.5% to 5,973.
Considerable uncertainty remains, given the “rollercoaster” swings in investor mood in response to signs from Trump about the stimulus, said Riki Ogawa of Mizuho Bank in Singapore.
“The on-and-off nature of the fiscal stimulus discussion in the U.S. hardly inspires lasting confidence,” Ogawa said in a report, noting such uncertainty will continue through the presidential election campaign, and perhaps even after the vote.
Meanwhile, the latest data on U.S. weekly jobless claims are on Thursday expected to show a still high level of layoffs. That underscores the weak state of an economy that has recovered only slightly more than half the 22 million jobs that were lost to the pandemic.
Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 added nearly 1.0% to finish at 23,647.07. South Korea’s Kospi gained 0.2% to 2,391.96. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 jumped 1.1% to 6,102.00. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.2% to 24,193.35. Trading was closed in Shanghai for a holiday.
Analysts say the U.S. election is the one global event market players view as influencing critical policy. In the meantime, there is consensus among many economists and investors that the economy needs another dose of support following the expiration of weekly jobless benefits and other stimulus Congress approved earlier this year. And so the market’s attention remains fixed on the prospects for more stimulus for the economy from Washington.
However, the pandemic also looms, with concern growing over flaring outbreaks of the coronavirus in Europe, the U.S. and elsewhere.
Germany is seeing a sharp jump in new coronavirus infections, raising fears the pandemic is gaining in a country that so far has coped better than many of its European neighbors.
The British government is mulling fresh restrictions on everyday life in England amid mounting evidence that the measures so far have done little to keep a lid on new coronavirus infections. France set a new record of infections on Wednesday.
In energy trading, benchmark U.S. crude added 60 cents to $40.55 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gave up 72 cents to $39.95 per barrel on Wednesday. Brent crude, the international standard, gained 73 cents to $42.72 a barrel.
The dollar stood roughly unchanged at 106.00 Japanese yen. The euro cost $1.1756, down slightly from $1.1762.