Stocks head for higher ground, oil stuck in a rut
World stock markets edged higher on Thursday on surging shares of Netflix and Amazon.com as investors anticipated big earnings from the coronavirus-induced slowdowns keeping people at home, while bond yields fell as data reflected record U.S. joblessness.
Equities markets seesawed for most of the session as dire U.S. jobless claims data underscored a deep recession and tamped down investor hopes the economy would soon be back on its feet.
A record 22 million Americans sought unemployment benefits over the past month, with millions more filing claims last week in a stark sign of how deep the economic slump caused by the pandemic will be.
Morgan Stanley (MS.N) Chief Executive James Gorman told shareholders he “can promise” the bank will miss its medium-term financial targets again this quarter, as the lockdowns will continue to upend the global and U.S. economies.
Morgan Stanley posted a 32% fall in quarterly profit and its shares slid 0.3%.
Amazon (AMZN.O) and Netflix (NFLX.O) rose as sweeping stay-at-home orders drove demand for online streaming services and home delivery of goods.
With an “all-clear” nowhere in sight, seven U.S. Northeastern states extended a shutdown to contain the pandemic until May 15, even as President Donald Trump prepared to detail his plan to open businesses in the least-affected states as early as May 1.
The dollar hit a one-week high and U.S. Treasury yields fell for a third session as investors fled to safe-haven assets.
Investors are grappling with whether to be optimistic for when economies pull out of recession or to wait for a coronavirus vaccine and clear signs growth has fully recovered, said Anthony Saglimbene, global market strategist at Ameriprise.
“The stock market is forward-looking and has discounted a lot of some of the really bad economic and earnings numbers that we’re going to get for Q1 and Q2,” Saglimbene said.
“It’s really about ‘When we do reopen, what’s that curve look like? Is it a ‘V,’ is it a ‘U’ or is it a ‘W’?’ Our view is that it’s going to be slow recovery,” he said.
It may take a few years for U.S. economic activity to rebound fully from the severe downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, New York Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams said.
MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS gained 0.14% and its emerging market stock index lost 0.37%.
On Wall Street, stocks gained. The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 33.33 points, or 0.14%, to 23,537.68. The S&P 500 .SPX gained 16.19 points, or 0.58%, to 2,799.55 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 139.19 points, or 1.66%, to 8,532.36.