Stocks are moving tentatively higher in early trading on Wall Street Friday as traders struggle to parse data from a report on the U.S. job market. The S&P 500 was up 0.3% in the early going, capping a volatile week of trading during which markets absorbed news of a fast-spreading new variant of the coronavirus as well as hints from the Federal Reserve that it may pull back its massive support for markets and the economy sooner than planned because of persistent signs of inflation. Treasury yields were modestly higher, while a gauge of fear among U.S. stock investors eased.
THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. AP’s earlier story follows below.
BANGKOK (AP) — Stocks were mostly higher in Europe and Asia after a broad rally on Wall Street as investors awaited U.S. employment and other data due out Friday.
Concerns over the spread of the new coronavirus variant and measures governments are taking to restrain it remained, but appeared to have been assuaged by reports that its symptoms seem to be mild and vaccines appear to protect against severe illness.
Germany’s DAX advanced 0.7% to 15,361.76. The CAC 40 in Paris added 0.5% to 6,831.75 and Britain’s FTSE 100 picked up 0.3% to 7,147.30.
The future for the Dow industrials gained 0.3% while that for the S&P 500 edged 0.1% higher.
Chinese ride-hailing service Didi Global Inc. said Friday it will pull out of the New York Stock Exchange and shift its listing to Hong Kong as the ruling Communist Party tightens control over tech industries.
The Securities and Exchange Commission has moved to require that U.S.-listed foreign stocks like Didi’s disclose their ownership structures and audit reports, which could lead to some of them being delisted.
In another blow for China’s troubled property sector, Hong Kong-traded developer Kaisa Group said it had failed to get the required approvals from bond holders to extend the deadline on payment on $400 million of 6.5% offshore bonds. It had wanted to have the new notes be due on June 6, 2023 at the same interest rate.
The aim was to relieve financial pressure and the plan’s failure to go through raises the risk of a default.
In Asian trading, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.1% to 23,766.69, while the Nikkei 225 in Tokyo regained lost ground, gaining 1% to 29,029.57. In Seoul, the Kospi climbed 0.8% to 2,968.33. Sydney’s S&P/ASX 200 added 0.2% to 7,241.20. The Shanghai Composite index gained 0.9% to 3,607.43.
Southeast Asia’s largest ride-hailing company Grab fell 20.5% in its market debut Thursday, following a $40 billion merger in a special purpose acquisition company deal.
The S&P 500 rose 1.4% on Thursday, its biggest gain since mid-October, to 4,577.10. The Dow gained 1.8% to 34,639.79. The Nasdaq added 0.8% to 15,381.32, held back by a modest drop in Apple, which fell 0.6% after the iPhone maker reportedly warned suppliers that it is seeing weak demand ahead of the holiday season.
The Russell 2000 jumped 2.7% to 2,206.33.
The recent rebound may prove to be short-lived, Craig Erlam of Oanda said in a commentary.
“Early signs aren’t promising given the rate of case increases in South Africa and the fact that omicron is already popping up in numerous other countries,” Erlam said. Investors may be “hoping for positive news on the vaccine effectiveness against the new strain and taking advantage of these levels before it’s too late. If they don’t get the news they’re hoping for, we could see another sharp move lower.”
The rally comes as investors try to gauge the amount of damage the omicron variant of COVID-19 and measures the U.S. and other governments are taking to restrain it might inflict on the economy.
Countries have been imposing barriers to travel and stricter restrictions on businesses and people. Concerns about global restrictions potentially crimping economic growth joined worries over rising inflation, which has prompted the Federal Reserve to consider withdrawing stimulus measures sooner than expected.
The yield on the 10-year Treasury was steady at 1.44%.
U.S. crude oil prices rose after OPEC and allied oil-producing countries decided Thursday to stick to their plans to boost output via steady, modest monthly increases in oil releases, even as the omicron variant adds more uncertainty over the global economic recovery from the pandemic. Energy companies gained ground. Chevron rose 2.7%.
U.S. benchmark crude oil had gained $2.12 cents to $68.62 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Brent crude, the standard for pricing international oils, gained $2.25 cents to $71.92 per barrel.
The U.S. dollar rose to 113.41 Japanese yen from 113.06 yen late Thursday. The euro slipped to $1.1297 from $1.1300.