As global novel coronavirus infections slow down in hardest-hit countries, Asian shares and US futures, including the energy sector, start to rebound.
Asian shares and US futures rebounded on Monday as investors grasped at threads of hope that the battle against the coronavirus pandemic may be making some progress in some hard-hit areas.
Markets in Tokyo and Sydney gained more than 4 percent on Monday and Hong Kong climbed 2.3 percent. New York futures were more than 4 percent higher.
The gains followed another Friday session of losses after the US said employers cut 701,000 more jobs than they added last month, the first drop in nearly a decade. Investors fled the market ahead of the weekend.
Oil prices fell back after a meeting between Opec and Russia reportedly was delayed until April 9.
Reports have shown the number of people dying appears to be slowing in New York City, Spain and Italy. The news was cautiously welcomed by leaders, who also noted that any gains could easily be reversed if people did not continue to adhere to strict lockdowns.
The benchmark STOXX 600 index was up 2.9 percent at 0707 GMT, after ending Friday with its sixth weekly decline in seven as the health crisis stalled business activity.
Italian and French bourses jumped 3.5 percent and 3.4 percent respectively, as data showed Italy reported its lowest daily death toll for more than two weeks on Sunday, while France's death toll dropped and admissions into intensive care slowed.
The STOXX 600 index has lost more than $3 trillion in market value since February as the slump in economic activity brought many sectors to the verge of collapse, forcing companies to suspend dividends and share buyback to shore up cash.
British aero-engine maker Rolls-Royce scrapped its final dividend on Monday, but its shares jumped 5 percent after it said it had secured an additional $1.8 billion (1.5 billion pounds) in reserves to manoeuvre a potentially prolonged downturn.
“Hundreds of people are passing away each day from the pandemic, but less so than previous days, giving markets hope that the lockdown measures are finally starting to prove effective," Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary.
The situation has deteriorated in other areas as rates of infections have surged.
The Nikkei 225 index jumped 4.2 percent to 18,576.30 on reports Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, plans to announce a state of emergency on Tuesday, seeking to further curb public activity and contain the outbreak.
Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 2.3 percent to 23,758.32. South Korea's Kospi added 3.6 percent to 1,787.02, while the S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney advanced 3.6 percent to 5,302.20. Shares also rose in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.
Shanghai's market was closed for a public holiday.
Wall Street slides
New York's first reaction to Friday’s appalling US jobs report was to take it in stride. But Wall Street slid throughout the day as investors braced for more bad news.
The losses accelerated after New York’s governor announced the biggest daily jump yet for deaths caused by the coronavirus in the country’s hardest-hit state.
The S&P 500 fell 1.5 percent to 2,488.65. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 1.7 percent to 21,052.53, and the Nasdaq shed 1.5 percent, to 7,373.08. Small-company stocks fell far more than the rest of the market. The Russell 2000 index gave up 3.1 percent, to 1,052.05.
The S&P 500 is down 26.5 percent since its record set in February, reflecting the growing assumption that the economy is sliding into a sudden, extremely sharp recession.
Traders are bracing for further potential doses of bad news: Potentially scary events on the calendar include Thursday’s weekly report on applications for unemployment benefits, which has been the closest thing to a real-time measure of how ferociously layoffs have swept the country.
Companies will also soon begin reporting their profits for the first three months of the year, with reporting season beginning in earnest in two weeks.
But only a peak in the number of new coronavirus cases could lend some clarity on how deep and protracted the economic downturn will be.
The United States has more than 377,000 confirmed cases of the virus, leading the worldwide tally of more than 1.27 million compiled by Johns Hopkins University.
More than 69,000 people have died, but over 260,000 have recovered.
Energy markets have recovered somewhat on expectations that Saudi Arabia and Russia might tone down their price war. However, benchmark US crude was lower on Monday, falling 57 cents to $27.77 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Friday, it climbed 11.9 percent to $28.34 per barrel, adding on to its nearly 25 percent surge the day before.
Brent crude, the international standard, gave up 41 cents to $33.70 per barrel. It rose $4.17 on Friday to $34.11 a barrel.
The world is awash in oil as demand for energy collapses, and President Donald Trump said Thursday that the rivals may be close to cutting back on production to prop up oil’s price.
In currency trading, the dollar rose to 109.09 Japanese yen from 108.48 yen on Friday. The euro edged higher, to $1.0826 from $1.0812.