World shares modestly higher as investors mull coronavirus, recovery outlook

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Global equity markets rose in choppy trading on Friday as concerns triggered by the U.S. Federal Reserve’s less-than-optimistic outlook for an economic recovery and a jump in U.S. coronavirus cases gave investors pause.

FILE PHOTO: Traders wear masks as they work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange as the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues in the Manhattan borough of New York, U.S., May 28, 2020. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

The three major U.S. stock indexes rose by at least 1%, a day after the market’s worst single-day drop in three months. MSCI’s gauge of stocks across the globe gained 0.34%.

Spot gold prices rose as investors bought the safe-haven metal, with bullion heading toward its biggest gain since the week of April 10. [GOL/] Meanwhile, oil prices fell for the first time in seven weeks. [O/R]

Spot gold added 0.3% to $1,731.81 an ounce. U.S. gold futures settled down 0.1% at $1,737.30.

Rich Meckler, partner at New Jersey-based Cherry Lane Investments, said Friday’s upswing indicated some investors are returning the markets, despite broad uncertainties about the economic recovery and future of the coronavirus pandemic.

“You could make the case that next year this time everything is back to normal, and you can make the case that it’s multiple years before we get back on path, and that’s what investors have been fighting,” over the past few days, Meckler said.

Worldwide health officials expressed concerns this week that countries, grappling with the devastating economic impact of lockdowns meant to stem coronavirus’s spread, are lifting restrictions too swiftly and risking a resurgence in cases.

Earlier this week, the Fed predicted a 6.5% decline in U.S. output this year and said an economic recovery is some time off.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 477.37 points, or 1.9%, to 25,605.54, the S&P 500 gained 39.21 points, or 1.31%, to 3,041.31 and the Nasdaq Composite added 96.08 points, or 1.01%, to 9,588.81.

Slideshow ( 2 images )

Despite that, all three major indexes suffered their biggest weekly percentage declines since the week ended March 20.

In Europe, the STOXX 600 Index snapped a four-day losing streak to rise 0.28%. Frankfurt’s DAX, Paris’s CAC40 and London’s FTSE were all in positive territory, the latter shrugging off data showing Britain’s economy shrank the most on record in April.

Spot gold rose 0.2% to $1,730.19 per ounce by 4:48 p.m. EDT (1810 GMT), up about 2.7% so this week.

For a graphic on World stocks market cap loss, click

U.S. crude oil futures settled at $36.26 a barrel, down 8 cents or 0.22 percent. Brent crude futures settled at $38.73 a barrel, up 18 cents or 0.47%. [O/R]

The three major U.S. stock indexes posted their worst day on Thursday since mid-March, when markets were sent into free-fall by the abrupt economic lockdowns put in place to contain the pandemic.

In currencies, the pound shed early gains against the dollar after 10 consecutive days of gains. Sterling was last trading at $1.2519, down 0.64%. The dollar index rose 0.286%.

The euro down 0.39% to $1.1253.

U.S. Treasury yields rose as stocks clawed back some ground. The 10-year U.S. Treasury yield rose to 0.7067%.

Reporting by Elizabeth Dilts Marshall in New York, additional reporting by Herb Lash in New York, Tom Arnold and Thyagaraju Adinarayan in London and Stanley White in Tokyo; editing by Dan Grebler, Nick Zieminski and Tom Brown