- European stocks rallied after early weakness on Thursday as investors continued to make purchases following the U.S. Senate passing the massive $2 trillion stimulus package.
- US stocks moved sharply higher over the course of the trading session on Thursday as traders shrugged off data showing a spike in first-time jobless claims. The Dow and the S&P 500 closed higher for the third straight day, climbing further off Monday’s three-year lows.
- Asian stocks ended mixed as lingering worries about the coronavirus pandemic prompted investors to book some profits after recent gains. The downside was capped after the U.S. Senate passed a $2 trillion relief package.
- US wholesale inventories decreased 0.5 percent from a month earlier in February 2020, following an upwardly revised 0.5 percent fall in the previous month and missing market expectations of a flat reading, preliminary estimates showed. Stocks of non-durable goods declined further (-0.7 percent vs -0.5 percent in January) and those of non-durable goods fell 0.4 percent (vs -0.5 percent). Year-on-year, wholesale inventories dropped 1 percent in February.
- The US economy grew 2.1 percent in Q4, the same as in Q3 and matching figures from the second estimate. Upward revision to personal consumption expenditures (PCE) was largely offset by downward revisions to federal government spending and nonresidential fixed investment. Considering full 2019, the economy advanced 2.3 percent, the least since 2016 and missing Trump administration’s 3 percent target for the 2nd year.
- The number of Americans filling for unemployment benefits jumped to 3.28 million in the week ended March 21st, the highest since the series began in 1967 and well above expectations of 1 million. The accommodation and food services sector was the hardest hit, while the health care & social assistance, arts, entertainment & recreation, transportation & warehousing, and manufacturing industries also saw an increase in unemployment. According to unadjusted data, the biggest rises were seen in Pennsylvania (+378,908), Ohio (+187,784) and California (+186,809). The 4-week moving average, which removes week-to-week volatility, also jumped to a record high of 1 million while continuing jobless claims increased to 1.8 million, above consensus of 1.71 million.
- Governments stepped up efforts to help airlines hammered by a virus-induced travel slump, with the United States offering $58 billion in aid, Singapore promising to keep its carrier aloft, and Australia easing competition rules.
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