May 5, 2020 / 3:19 AM / 23 days ago

Oil surge lifts global stocks out of three-day losing streak

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A gauge of global stock markets rose on Tuesday, snapping a three-day losing streak, while oil prices soared as investors shrugged off grim economic data on hopes the easing of coronavirus lockdowns will jump start economies and revive fuel demand.

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is seen in the financial district of lower Manhattan during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in New York City, U.S., April 26, 2020. REUTERS/Jeenah Moon

The dollar rose against most major currencies, bolstered by better-than-expected U.S. services data. The greenback’s gains were also supported after U.S. President Donald Trump renewed verbal attacks on China, raising fears of a new trade war.

Oil prices surged, with U.S. crude futures rocketing 20% on hopes a recovery in vehicle traffic will boost fuel demand as some U.S. states, as well as countries in Europe and Asia, start to ease lockdowns. Risk appetite rose, lifting bond yields as gold prices fell. [O/R]

“Continued talk about re-opening the economy and de-sheltering, that gives a lot of people hope the economy may recover sooner that some believe,” said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at Inverness Counsel in New York.

“The market just seems to keep wanting to go up,” he said.

Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) rose 2.6% after it announced a venture with its German partner had started delivering doses of an experimental coronavirus vaccine for human testing in the United States, news that also buoyed sentiment.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 212.09 points, or 0.89%, to 23,961.85. The S&P 500 .SPX gained 32.22 points, or 1.13%, to 2,874.96 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 118.96 points, or 1.37%, to 8,829.68.

Economic data on Tuesday was dour as expected given the widespread lockdowns that have caused non-essential businesses around the world to grind to a virtual halt.

U.S. gross domestic product declined at a 4.8% annualized rate in the first quarter, the steepest pace of contraction in output since late 2008, while the Institute for Supply Management (ISM) showed the nation’s vast services sector was in contraction in April for the first time in nearly 10-1/2-years.

Oil majors pushed the main stock indices higher across Europe, Canada and on Wall Street as Brent crude futures surged almost 14%. But Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) and Chevron Corp (CVX.N) pared gains to lose their top spots on the Dow. Royal Dutch Shell (RDSa.L) and BP Plc (BP.L) in London, Total (TOTF.PA) in Paris, Eni SpA (ENI.MI) in Milan and Repsol (REP.MC) in Madrid led their respective country indices higher, as did Cenovus Energy (CVE.TO) on Bay Street in Toronto.

“There is some hope that things are starting to get back to normal, and the rally in oil is helping put some confidence back in the markets,” said Keith Temperton, a sales trader at Tavira Securities.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 2.15% while MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe .MIWD00000PUS gained 1.56%.

German shares lost some ground at one point after Germany’s top court said the European Central Bank’s bond purchasing program partially violates the constitution.

The euro EUR= and the region's government debt fell, too, though the court said the ECB program did not amount to monetary financing - in which a central bank bankrolls the government - which is banned in Germany. The ruling also did not apply to the bank's new coronavirus PEPP support program.

The euro EUR= slid 0.56% to $1.0845 and a sell-off in bond markets pushed Italy's ultra ECB-sensitive government yields up past 1.90% again.

The slide in the euro bolstered the dollar. The dollar index =USD rose 0.259%, but the jump in oil meant the big petro currencies like Canada's dollar CAD=, Norway's crown NOK= and Russia's ruble RUB= were all stronger. [/FRX]

Graphic: Stocks and oil lift out of coronavirus slump , here

U.S. oil futures jumped 20%. West Texas Intermediate CLc1, the U.S. benchmark, rose $4.17 to settle at $24.56 a barrel. Brent futures LCOc1 added $3.77 to settle at $30.97, the first time since April 15 the international benchmarket rose above $30 a barrel.

Spot gold XAU= was up 0.2% at $1,705.57 per ounce at 2:05 p.m. EDT (1805 GMT). U.S. gold futures GCv1 settled down 0.2% at $1,710.60.

Graphic: Global markets , here

Reporting by Herb Lash; additional reporting by Marc Jones in London; Editing by Larry King, Nick Macfie, Dan Grebler and David Gregorio

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