Sunday, May 31, 2020

Stocks close lower; oil declines on deal doubts

Apr 08. 2020
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By  Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Katherine Greifeld, Claire Ballentine · BUSINESS 

Stocks closed lower in volatile trading as investors debated whether the spread of the coronavirus may be slowing in several major economies. Oil sank and bonds retreated.

The S&P 500 Index fell 0.2% after surging as much as 3.5%. The benchmark briefly met the time-honored definition for the start of a bull market after climbing 20% from its March 23 low. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced after the rate of new infections slowed in France and in Italy, the original epicenter of the continent's outbreak.

"We're going to continue to be very volatile, and you're going to see this roller coaster continue," said Chris Gaffney, president of world markets at TIAA. "We will see a test of the bottoms again."

New York's rate of new coronavirus infections tapered for a third straight day, stoking optimism that the pandemic may finally be approaching a peak in the state where it has hit hardest.

Oil sank to the weakest level since the start of the month as investors weighed whether the world's biggest producers will be able to strike a deal that cuts enough output to offset an unprecedented demand loss from the coronavirus outbreak.

"With the volatility being so wild lately, it doesn't take much for the buyers to pull-in their horns," said Matt Maley, equity strategist at Miller Tabak & Co. "When oil rolled over, stock buyers got a little nervous."

Elsewhere, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose more than 2% after adding nearly 3% a day earlier. Chinese stocks climbed and the yuan strengthened in the wake of further targeted stimulus by policymakers as Shanghai reopened after a long weekend. China said it didn't have any newdeaths for the first time since the pandemic emerged.

 

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