‘Markets are screaming for more’: Stocks, oil, Treasury yields climb as hopes of a global coronavirus response grow

AP/Mark Lennihan

  • Stocks, oil, and Treasury yields rebounded Friday as investors cheered central banks for boosting liquidity and hoped for a coronavirus rescue package in the US.
  • Central banks in Norway, Japan, and Australia cut interest rates, bought government bonds, or took other expansionary measures.
  • The US House of Representatives is expected to vote on legislation that would improve unemployment benefits, ensure free virus testing, guarantee 14 days of paid sick leave, and help poorer Americans as well as small and medium-size businesses.
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Stocks, oil, and Treasury yields recovered Friday from Thursday’s historic sell-off, as central bankers took action and US lawmakers moved closer to passing sweeping measures meant to combat the economic impacts of the novel coronavirus.

Norway’s central bank cut interest rates and boosted market liquidity, the Bank of Japan purchased billions of dollars’ worth of government bonds, and the Reserve Bank of Australia injected almost $6 billion into the nation’s financial system, the Financial Times reported.

Moreover, the US House of Representatives on Friday was expected to vote on a rescue package expected to include better unemployment benefits, free virus testing, 14 days of guaranteed paid sick leave, tax credits to help small and medium-size businesses, and support for food-assistance programs and Medicaid, The New York Times reported.

Hopes of coordinated global action to combat coronavirus most likely fueled the relief rally. Analysts, however, were skeptical that it would last.

“Markets are screaming for more,” Michael Every, a senior Asia-Pacific strategist at RaboResearch, said in a research note.

“It seems like there is nothing the policymakers can do to stop bleeding,” Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote Bank, said in a morning note.

“There is little alternative to letting the knife hit the ground,” she added.

Here’s the market roundup as of 1:05 p.m. in New York:

  • US stocks climbe, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq up between 2.4% and 2.5%.
  • European equities rallied, with Germany’s DAX up 0.8%, Britain’s FTSE 100 up 2.6%, and the Euro Stoxx 50 up 1.6%.
  • Asian indexes closed lower. China’s Shanghai Composite fell 1.2%, South Korea’s KOSPI slumped 3.4%, Japan’s Nikkei dropped 6%, and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 1.1%.
  • Oil prices regained ground, with West Texas Intermediate up 1.1% at $31.90 a barrel and Brent crude up 2.1% at $33.90.
  • The benchmark 10-year Treasury yield rose to 0.92%.
  • Bitcoin plunged below $4,000 overnight before rebounding to about $5,200.

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