The markets were buoyant thanks to the easing of blockages in several countries
Friday, May 8, 2020, 8:06 p.m.
Wall Street got an extra boost when new figures showed the U.S. economy lost fewer jobs than expected in April.
Official figures show that the nonagricultural payroll dropped by 20.5 million in April – their largest drop since the Great Depression of 1929-33. But that figure was lower than the 22 million forecast by economists polled by Reuters.
By late afternoon, the Dow Jones industry average was 1.55% higher and the S&P 500 1.31%.
In Europe, the Dax index for Germany was 1.25% higher at the end of the afternoon. The French Cac 40 rose 0.89% and the Swiss Market Index 0.49%.
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Although the total unemployed in America was not as bad as the markets had expected, traders said the figures were reminiscent of the economic record that the coronavirus would affect the US economy.
“It was the time when it became clear that the American livelihoods toll would overshadow the loss of American lives,” said Ulas Akincilar, head of trading on the online trading platform Infinox.
“With more than 20 million Americans falling from the workforce in a single month, the pain of the financial crisis looks like a pinprick.”
Rising oil prices were also good news, just weeks after a total collapse that led to the sale of crude oil at negative prices.
Driven up by announcements from countries that canceled the blockages, a barrel of Brent crude traded 2.1% at $ 30, while West Texas Intermediate jumped 2.3% to $ 24.10.