Stocks rose across the globe on Monday as investors cheered news that more countries and U.S. states were looking to ease lockdowns and the Bank of Japan expanded its stimulus program, while the price of oil continued to crumble as storage runs out.
North American energy stocks underperformed the wider market but were still up in both Toronto and New York despite an over 20% decline in U.S. crude prices.
The U.S. dollar dipped as risk-prone traders cheered lockdown news even as health experts warned that not enough coronavirus testing was in place in the United States. From Italy to New Zealand, governments announced the easing of restrictions, while Britain said it was too early to relax them there. New York state will not reopen for weeks, at the least.
The Bank of Japan kicked off a week of central bank meetings by pledging to buy unlimited amounts of government bonds, continuing a trend of historic stimulus announcements to offset the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The U.S. Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank meet later in the week, with the ECB expected to increase the size of its bond buying program.
The U.S. state of Georgia began letting residents dine at restaurants and watch movies at theaters as more American states from Minnesota to Mississippi took steps to ease coronavirus restrictions even though health experts warned it may be too early.
“There’s cautious optimism that the economy across the country is moving toward restarting,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.
“The market is looking out six to nine months, but there are a number of things that could push that optimism right out the window, primarily a sharp spike in the number of COVID-19 cases.”
Canada’s main stock index also roseon Monday as global economic stimulus measures and news of some countries easing lockdowns pulled investors back to riskier assets.
Optimism also stemmed from Canada’s slowing death toll from the coronavirus. Amid plans to restart economies of Canadian provinces, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said isolation measures to fight the outbreak should remain for the time being.
The Toronto Stock Exchange’s S&P/TSX composite index was unofficially up 221.75 points, or 1.54%, at 14,642.11, after a week of modest gains.
The energy sector erased early losses and finished 0.3% higher, even though crude prices continued to fall.
The financials sector gained 3%, while the industrials sector rose 1.5%.
The materials sector, which includes precious and base metals miners and fertilizer companies, lost 0.2% as gold futures fell.
In New York, the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 353.55 points, or 1.49%, to end at 24,128.82.
The S&P 500 gained 41.13 points, or 1.45%, to 2,877.87 and the Nasdaq Composite added 95.64 points, or 1.11%, to 8,730.16.
The pan-European STOXX 600 index rose 1.77% and MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 1.76%.
Although trillions of dollars in stimulus have helped the S&P 500 recover nearly 30% from its March lows, some analysts say more gains may be capped as the economic damage grows, unless there is progress on treatments for the disease.
“There are so many things that can go wrong in the next six months,” said Marc Chaikin, founder of Chaikin Analytics in Philadelphia, adding that “history suggests that bear markets end with a whimper and not a bang.”
Emerging market stocks rose 1.77%. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan closed 1.89% higher, while Japan’s Nikkei rose 2.71%.
Oil prices weakened sharply on continued concern about oversupply and a lack of storage space. The front-month contract was trading at lower-than-usual volumes as traders moved to later months in futures contracts.
“The market is very concerned about a repeat of negative pricing as the Cushing storage and delivery hub saturates,” Harry Tchilinguirian, global oil strategist at BNP Paribas in London, told the Reuters Global Oil Forum.
“The shift of open interest away from June will have negative consequences for the liquidity of the contract, potentially leading to greater volatility in its price,” he said.
U.S. crude fell 22.9% to $13.06 per barrel and Brent was at $20.04, down 6.53% on the day.
The U.S. dollar dropped as the broader upbeat mood encouraged investors to move into other currencies.
The dollar index fell 0.18%, with the euro up 0.07% to $1.0828.
The Japanese yen strengthened 0.28% versus the greenback at 107.27 per dollar, while sterling was last trading at $1.2418, up 0.41% on the day.
Bucking the trend, the Brazilian real was on track to close at a record low against the greenback.
U.S. Treasury yields rose, with the benchmark 10-year note last down 20/32 in price to yield 0.6589%, from 0.596% late on Friday.
The 2-year note last fell 1/32 in price to yield 0.2263%, from 0.216%.
Spot gold dropped 0.9% to $1,712.59 an ounce.
The United States and European Union both release first-quarter economic growth numbers this week, while the influential U.S. ISM manufacturing survey is also due.
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