World shares rebound

March 26, 2020

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LONDON: A breakneck rebound in world stocks made it past the 10 per cent mark on Wednesday before more global coronavirus warnings and fresh turbulence in commodity markets saw things grind to a halt.

Hopes that an incoming $2 trillion US fiscal stimulus will ease the economic devastation caused by virus lockdowns gave world equity indexes their first back-to-back gains in a month, though wasn’t plain sailing.

Europe’s main markets in London, Frankfurt and Paris were struggling to stay positive after tearing 4pc-5pc higher and oil prices swung from 3pc up to 3pc down, while Wall Street looked set to open lower after Tuesday’s stellar surge.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average had soared over 11pc in its biggest one-day percentage gain since 1933 and the S&P 500 scored a 9.4pc jump - its tenth best day on record out of 24,067 trading sessions since daily data started in 1927.

Dollar slips

In the currency markets, the dollar slipped for a third straight session as the scramble for liquidity was soothed by the super-sized US stimulus plan, though it was starting to look a little stronger again.

The risk-sensitive Australian dollar jumped over the 60-US cent mark for the first time in a week and the euro traded up 0.3pc past $1.0835 and, with traders moving gradually away from safety boltholes, the Japanese yen eased to 111.34 yen per dollar to leave it just off a one-month low.

In metals markets, gold changed hands at $1,610.0 per ounce, retaining most of Tuesday’s gains of almost 5pc, its biggest jump since 2008.

Oil prices buckled though another 3pc as concerns about demand took over again.

Brent crude futures pinballed from $27.51 per barrel to $26.22. That is up about $4, or 12pc, from their 18-year intraday low on Friday, though on the month the market is down over 45pc.

Published in Dawn, March 26th, 2020