In European Equity Markets the pan-European Stoxx 600 closed down 0.2%, with oil and gas stocks shedding 1.4% to lead losses, while the travel and leisure sector gained 3%. Global markets continue to seesaw on hopes and fears over the direction that the coronavirus pandemic is taking. In terms of individual share price action, British insurers Direct Line and Aviva were among the worst performers, down around 7% and 6%, respectively. It comes after they and a number of other insurers canceled their dividends for 2019.
In Currency Markets the U.S. dollar edged higher on Wednesday in choppy trading, attracting safe-haven bids, as optimism faded that the coronavirus crisis may be nearing a peak and investor concerns remained over the economic fallout of the pandemic. Against the yen, the dollar inched higher to 108.79 yen. The euro was slightly lower on the day at $1.0883, weighed down by the failure of European Union finance ministers to agree on further support for their coronavirus-hit economies.
In Commodities Markets oil prices pulled back Wednesday, with benchmark Brent turning negative as U.S. crude inventories surged the most on record, but the pullback was muted by hopes that a meeting between OPEC and allied producers on Thursday will trigger output cuts. U.S. crude inventories rose 15.2 million barrels in the week, the most on record. Brent crude was down 11 cents, or 0.3%, at $31.76. U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude rose 63 cents to $24.26 a barrel, after earlier trading as high as $25.29 a barrel.
In US Equity Markets indices rose on Wednesday on hopes the coronavirus outbreak in the United States was close to its peak and expectations that Congress will inject hundreds of billions more in the battered economy. The S&P 500 was up 0.95%, at 2,684.61 and the Nasdaq Composite was up 0.86%, at 7,955.20. Corporate earnings season starts next week with the major Wall Street banks. Shares of UPS and FedEx rose 3.51% to 6.26% after Amazon.com Inc said it would suspend its U.S. shipping service.
In Bond Markets Italian government bond yields rose on Wednesday after European Union finance ministers failed to agree a rescue package to help economies recover from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Italy’s 10-year bond yield rose as much as 20 basis points, hitting its highest since March 19 at 1.748% before slipping back. It was last up 5 bps at 1.65%. The 2-year yield was last up 12 bps at 0.69%. Spanish 10-year yields were up 3 basis points, while Portugal’s were up 5 basis points in late trade.