GLOBAL MARKETS-World shares mixed amid hopes for business pickup, weak data; oil slides

  • Reuters
  • Stock Market News
GLOBAL MARKETS-World shares mixed amid hopes for business pickup, weak data; oil slides
Credit: © Reuters.

(Adds U.S. market open, byline, dateline; previous LONDON)

* Grim PMI data in Europe

By Herbert Lash and Tom Arnold

NEW YORK/LONDON, May 6 (Reuters) - World equity markets were mixed on Wednesday, with U.S. indexes seesawing amid hopes for a pickup in business activity and as oil prices slumped with demand low after a rise in U.S. crude stockpiles last week to three-year highs.

The safe-haven Japanese yen and dollar rose after economic data showed U.S. private payrolls tumbled last month to a record 20.2 million, German industrial orders fell at a record pace in March and UK construction activity crashed to an all-time low in April.

The dollar index =USD rose 0.359%, with the euro EUR= down 0.36% to $1.0799. The Japanese yen JPY= strengthened 0.49% versus the greenback at 106.10 per dollar.

Retail sales in the euro zone also suffered their largest decline on record in March. has collapsed globally because of the coronavirus epidemic and many investors viewed the prospect of a swift recovery as bleak, despite the gradual opening of economies worldwide that has given hope to other investors.

Trying to gauge economic growth in light of the pandemic has sent investors scurrying for new insights, especially in China, where the economy was first to re-open, said Yousef Abbasi, global market strategist at INTL FCStone Financial Inc in New York.

"When are you going to see those businesses retake capacity comparable to the last year? That's the big question," Abbasi said. "It really is about where you think demand is going to come back or where you think demand never really dropped off."

The pan-European STOXX 600 index .STOXX lost 0.37% while MSCI's gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS shed just 0.07%.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI fell 49.71 points, or 0.21%, to 23,833.38. The S&P 500 .SPX lost 0.82 points, or 0.03%, to 2,867.62 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 84.88 points, or 0.96%, to 8,894.00.

The blue-chip Dow Jones index came under pressure from declines in oil giant Chevron Corp (NYSE: CVX ) CVX.N as crude prices fell. The S&P 500 energy sub-index .SPNY dropped 2.2%.

General Motors Co (NYSE: GM ) GM.N jumped 5% after the automaker topped first-quarter profit expectations and outlined plans for a May 18 restart of most of its North American plants. Health Corp CVS.N gained 2.3% after reporting a better-than-expected quarterly profit. slid below $30 a barrel as crude stocks rose and gasoline demand remained below normal seasonal levels, snapping a six-day winning streak for Brent futures that helped the global benchmark almost double in price from a 21-year low on April 22.

U.S. crude inventories USOILC=ECI rose by 4.6 million barrels in the week to May 1 to 532.2 million barrels, compared with analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a 7.8 million-barrel rise. EIA/S

U.S. crude CLc1 fell 5.9% to $23.11 per barrel and Brent LCOc1 was at $28.77, down 7.1% on the day.

Healthcare stocks .SXDP rose in Europe on the back of better-than-expected quarterly results from Denmark's Novo Nordisk NOVOb.CO and German dialysis specialist Fresenius Medical Care FMEG.DE . season is not great, but it's really the issue of the virus and the end of the lockdown, and sentiment towards that will push the market," said Francois Savary, chief investment officer at Swiss wealth manager Prime Partners.

China opened for the first time since Thursday and reversed early losses, sending its blue-chip index .CSI300 up 0.6%.

In a move seen by analysts as offering a olive branch to Washington amid the trade tensions, China's central bank set the yuan CNY= at a broadly neutral midpoint. The exchange rate has been a contentious point in China-U.S. ties.

U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly taken aim at China as the source of the pandemic and warned it would be held to account. On Tuesday, he urged China to be transparent about the origins of the coronavirus, which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. gold XAU= dropped 1.1% to $1,687.10 an ounce.

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