US and European stocks were higher Friday, recovering from the previous day’s rout on rising new coronavirus cases in the United States and data denting hopes for a strong recovery from the pandemic devastation.
The scale of the damage was highlighted by news that the British economy shrank 20.4 percent month-on-month in April, a sharp reality check after the near euphoria of recent weeks.
Analysts said the figures were awful but at least everyone knew that April was going to be the worst month, with all depending on how May and June go.
On that score, US consumer confidence figures were surprisingly good, bolstered as state authorities began to ease coronavirus restrictions.
The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index jumped to 78.9 from 72.3 in May, much better than economists had expected.
“Consumer sentiment posted its second monthly gain in early June, paced by gains in the outlook for personal finances and more favorable prospects for the national economy due to the reopening,” said Richard Curtin chief economist of the Survey of Consumers.
Curtin cautioned however that while consumers are expecting things to get better, few anticipate a return to normalcy “anytime soon.”
In New York, the DJIA opened with a sharp advance of 2.7 percent but then slipped back to show a gain of around 1.5 percent by 1600 GMT.
On Thursday, the DJIA slumped nearly seven percent.
In Europe, markets finished well off their highs and Frankfurt closed in the red, shedding 0.18 percent to 11,949.28 points.
London’s FTSE 100 index finished up 0.5 at 6,105.18 points while in Paris, the CAC 40 added 0.49 percent to 4,839.26 points.
“As if it was not already clear that we are living through extraordinary times, investors are piling back into stock on Friday after a sharp sell-off a day earlier,” Craig Erlam, analyst at trading group OANDA, said earlier in the European trading day.
“While yesterday’s 6.9-percent plunge in the Dow is not even in the top three worst days this year, it is still a quite remarkable daily drop historically.
“Today’s rebound may not last… but these markets are very strange and I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s instead being perceived as a ‘buy the dip’ opportunity.”
Asian markets fell but losses were relatively modest by their close.
London – FTSE 100: UP 0.5 percent at 6,105.18 points (close)
Frankfurt – DAX 30: DOWN 0.2 percent at 11,949.28 (close)
Paris – CAC 40: UP 0.5 percent at 4,839.26 (close)
EURO STOXX 50: FLAT at 3,145.06
Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.8 percent at 22,305.48 (close)
Hong Kong – Hang Seng: DOWN 0.7 percent at 24,301.38 (close)
Shanghai – Composite: FLAT at 2,919.74 (close)
New York – Dow: UP 1.5 percent at 25,497.35
West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.3 percent at $36.24 per barrel
Brent North Sea crude: UP 0.9 percent at $38.89
Euro/dollar: DOWN at $1.1255 from $1.1299 at 2100 GMT
Dollar/yen: UP at 107.37 yen from 106.87 yen
Pound/dollar: DOWN at $1.2527 from $1.2602