Global shares hit weekly highs against as relations between the US and China seemed to improve, as well as more countries easing social and economic lockdowns
Stock market traders in London took a day off amid celebrations for the 75th anniversary of VE Day, but their international counterparts were still working and global markets finished the week on a high note.
Global shares hit weekly highs against a backdrop of improved relations between the US and China, as well as the release of plans from more countries detailing how they will reopen their economies.
Wall Street was given an additional boost when fresh numbers showed that the US economy shed fewer jobs than expected in April.
Official figures showed that non-farm payrolls plunged by 20.5 million in April – their steepest fall since the Great Depression of 1929-33. But the figure was lower than the 22 million forecast by economists polled by Reuters.
By late afternoon, the Dow Jones industrial average was 1.55 per cent higher and the S&P 500 was up by 1.31 per cent.
In Europe, Germany’s Dax index was 1.25 per cent higher by late afternoon. The French Cac 40 was up 0.89 per cent and the Swiss Market Index was up 0.49 per cent.
Although the America’s jobless totals were not as bad as the markets had expected, traders said that the figures were a reminder of the economic toll that the coronavirus will take on the US economy.
This was the moment when it became clear that the toll on American livelihoods will dwarf the loss of American lives, said Ulas Akincilar, the head of trading at the online trading platform Infinox. With more than 20 million Americans falling out of the labour force in a single month, the pain of the financial crisis looks like a pinprick.
Rising oil prices were also good news, just a few weeks after a total collapse led to crude selling for negative prices.
Pushed higher by announcements from countries rolling back lockdowns, a barrel of Brent crude was trading 2.1 per cent higher at $30, while West Texas Intermediate had jumped by 2.3 per cent to $24.10.