The Canadian Press
NEW YORK — U.S. stocks are ticking higher and heading back toward record highs on Friday, despite discouraging data detailing how much damage the deepening pandemic is doing to the job market. The S&P 500 was 0.2% higher in early trading, putting it on pace to erase its slight loss from the day before. The much weaker-than-expected jobs report may perversely have been bad enough to kick Congress out of its partisan-driven paralysis and deliver more support for the economy. Hopes also remain deeply rooted on Wall Street that one or more coronavirus vaccines are on the way to rescue the global economy next year.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.
BEIJING (AP) —
Global stock markets and U.S. futures rose Friday ahead of the latest report on the pace of American hiring and after major oil producers agreed to increase production gradually.
Benchmarks in London, Shanghai, Paris and Hong Kong advanced while Tokyo declined. U.S. stock futures were up slightly.
Investors are looking ahead to the monthly jobs report, which analysts think will show a slight slowdown in the pace of hiring in November from the previous month’s 638,000.
Market sentiment has also been improved this week by data showing fewer Americans than expected applied for jobless benefits last week and service industries grew in November. They also were optimistic about possible progress toward a new U.S. economic aid plan.
“Expectations of a holiday pandemic relief bill are offsetting the immediate pain the coronavirus is having on the economy,” Edward Moya of Oanda said in a report. “Expectations are high for the virus lockdowns to improve in January as vaccines are produced and distributed.”
The FTSE 100 in London was up 0.8% to 6,544 and the CAC 40 in Paris added 0.4% to 5,595. The DAX in Frankfurt was down less than 0.1% at 13,243.
On Wall Street, the futures for the S&P 500 index and the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 0.4%.
In Asia, the Shanghai Composite Index added less than 0.1% to 3,444.58 while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo shed 0.2% to 26,751.14. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong rose 0.4% to 26,835.92.
The Kospi in Seoul gained 1.3% to 2,731.45 and Sydney's S&P-ASX 200 was 0.3% higher at 6,634.10. India's Sensex rose 0.6% to 44,887.17.
Investors hope one or more coronavirus vaccines might be available next year despite the challenges of making and distributing billions of doses that must be kept frozen.
Pfizer, which received British approval for emergency use of its vaccine, told The Wall Street Journal that testing and setting up a supply chain took longer than expected.
Also Thursday, U.S. health authorities reported a one-day record of 3,157 virus deaths.
“Before we can make new gains, there is the usual sentiment tug of war between medium-term optimism and near-term COVID-19 despair,” Stephen Innes of Axi said in a report.
Investors have been encouraged by signs Democrats and Republicans in Washington may get past their bitter partisanship to agree on an economic aid package.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke Thursday after Pelosi signalled a willingness to make concessions. President-elect Joe Biden urged Congress on Wednesday to pass a relief bill now, with more aid to come next year.
Oil prices edged higher after OPEC and allied countries including Russia agreed Thursday to increase oil production only gradually, starting with 500,000 barrels per day in January. They slashed output earlier to shore up prices as curbs on business depressed demand.
Benchmark U.S. crude gained 40 cents to $46.04 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 36 cents on Thursday. Brent crude, used to price international oils, was up 43 cents at $49.14 per barrel in London. It added 46 cents the previous session.
The dollar edged up to 103.99 yen from Thursday's 103.97 yen. The euro rose to $1.2167 from $1.2143.
The Associated Press