Global stocks mostly rise as markets shrug off latest Covid woes

·3-min read
Traders are awaiting the latest meeting of OPEC and other major producers later Friday, with expectations they will lift output as demand recovers with the global economy

Global stocks mostly rose on Thursday with oil prices, as growing economic optimism topped concerns over the rapidly spreading Delta Covid variant.

European and US indices climbed, including the S&P 500, which won a sixth straight record following data showing a drop in US jobless claims.

As markets were closing on Wall Street, the International Monetary Fund upgraded its estimate for US growth in 2021 to seven percent, saying the world's biggest economy had enjoyed a "remarkable recovery."

Maris Ogg, president of Tower Bridge Advisors, said investors have been impressed with the extent of pent-up demand in the US economy.

"You've got some runway," Ogg said of the consumer-driven US economy and the healthy state of household incomes for many Americans.

But the World Health Organization warned the Delta variant of coronavirus is driving the pandemic forward in Africa at record speeds.

The WHO also called for better monitoring of Euro 2020 football matches as Covid infections climb again in Europe.

Back in the Unites States, new applications for unemployment benefits fell last week to 364,000, the lowest since March 14, 2020 when the pandemic lockdowns began.

The data comes ahead of Friday's government jobs report for June. Analysts expect the United States added 725,000 jobs and that unemployment fell to 5.7 percent from 5.8 percent.

Analysts say a very strong jobs report Friday could boost speculation the Federal Reserve will accelerate plans to tighten monetary policy.

Meanwhile, Eurostat data showed unemployment in the eurozone fell to 7.9 percent, 0.1 percentage points lower than April.

Both Paris and Frankfurt advanced, along with London, which climbed 0.6 percent as Japanese car maker Nissan announced a £1.0-billion ($1.4-billion, 1.2-billion-euro) investment in a new UK electric car battery factory.

Oil prices jumped after major oil-producing countries pushed back until Friday a decision on whether to boost production in light of rebounding petroleum demand.

A panel among the OPEC+ producers had recommended the group boost output by 400,000 barrels per day, which was below the 500,000 expected by analysts, said Robert Yawger, director of energy futures at Mizuho Securities.

- Key figures at 2050 GMT -

New York - Dow: UP 0.4 percent at 34,633.53 (close)

New York - S&P 500: UP 0.5 percent at 4,319.94 (close)

New York - Nasdaq: UP 0.1 percent at 14,522.38 (close)

London - FTSE 100: UP 1.3 percent at 7,125.16 (close)

Frankfurt - DAX 30: UP 0.5 percent at 15,603.81 (close)

Paris - CAC 40: UP 0.7 percent at 6,553.82 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 0.4 percent at 4,078.89 (close)

Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.3 percent at 28,707.04 (close)

Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.1 percent at 3,588.78 (close)

Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: Closed for a holiday

Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1855 from $1.1858 at 2100 GMT

Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.3762 from $1.3831

Euro/pound: UP at 86.10 pence from 85.74 pence

Dollar/yen: UP at 111.54 yen from 111.11 yen

Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.9 percent at $75.84 per barrel

West Texas Intermediate: UP 2.4 percent at $75.23 per barrel