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U.S. equity markets surged to session highs Thursday morning, shrugging off a record number of first-time unemployment filings, after President Trump said he expects Russia and Saudi Arabia will sharply cut oil production.
The announcement sent West Texas Intermediate crude oil soaring by more than 30 percent to as high as $27.39 per barrel. Also on Thursday, China said it would begin filling up its reserves.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained as many as 534 points, or 2.55 percent. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite rose as much as 2.55 percent and 1.92 percent, respectively.
|I:DJI||DOW JONES AVERAGES||21170.86||+227.35||+1.09%|
|I:COMP||NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX||7462.320045||+101.74||+1.38%|
The announcement from Trump provided a lift to a stock market that was searching for direction after a Labor Department report showed initial jobless claims rose to a record 6.648 million in the week ended March 28, exceeding the 3.5 million that was expected as the pandemic brings the U.S. economy to a standstill. The number shattered an all-time high of 3.3 million filings set only last week. The March jobs report will be released on Friday.
COVID-19 has infected at least 216,700 people in the U.S. and killed 5,137, according to the latest figures provided by Johns Hopkins University & Medicine. More than 8,600 people in the country have recovered.
Looking at stocks, shares of Exxon Mobil, Chevron and Continental Resources were among the beneficiaries ahead of Friday’s meeting between Trump and executives from the industry.
|XOM||EXXON MOBIL CORPORATION||40.63||+3.10||+8.27%|
Meanwhile, the heavily beaten down airlines seesawed after Trump said he is considering grounding domestic flights to so-called hotspots.
Dow component Boeing rallied after The Wall Street Journal reported the planemaker will offer early retirement and buyouts to all of its employees.
|AAL||AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP INC.||10.25||-0.44||-4.12%|
|DAL||DELTA AIR LINES INC.||23.61||-0.26||-1.07%|
|UAL||UNITED AIRLINES HLDG.||24.57||-1.08||-4.22%|
Elsewhere, lenders for movie-theater chain AMC Entertainment Holdings hired restructuring lawyers as the company faces default risk from having to shut down its theaters due to the pandemic.
On the earnings front, Walgreens Boot Alliance reported better-than-expected top- and bottom-line results and remains on track to meet its full-year profit forecast.
Electric-vehicle maker Tesla was in focus as investors awaited the release of its first-quarter delivery and production numbers.
|AMC||AMC ENTERTAINMENT HOLDINGS INC||2.23||-0.39||-14.76%|
|WBA||WALGREENS BOOTS ALLIANCE INC.||40.18||-2.85||-6.62%|
Longer-dated U.S. Treasurys continued to gain, flattening the yield curve. The 10-year yield was down 4.9 basis points at 0.586 percent.
European markets gained ground with Britain’s FTSE up 1.31 percent, France’s CAC higher by 1 percent and Germany’s DAX adding 0.83 percent.
In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei slid 1.37 percent while China’s Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 1.69 percent and 0.84 percent, respectively.