- On Wednesday: European stocks ended on a high note, buoyed by claims from Gilead Sciences that the results of its study showed improvement in patients taking its remdesivir to treat the coronavirus infection.
- U.S. stocks Traders shrugged off a report showing a sharp contraction in U.S. economic activity, sending stocks sharply higher during trading. The major averages have all surged into positive territory after ending the previous session in the red.
- Asian stocks rose broadly with optimism about the easing of coronavirus-related restrictions and expectations about robust earnings by U.S. tech firms helping underpin sentiment.
- The US Federal Reserve on Wednesday left the target range for its federal funds rate unchanged at 0-0.25% and reiterated it is committed to using its full range of tools to support the economy hit by the coronavirus crisis. Policymakers said that the ongoing public health crisis will weigh heavily on economic activity, employment, and inflation in the near term, and poses considerable risks to the economic outlook over the medium term.
- Brent crude futures extended gains to trade above $23 a barrel in afternoon trading on Wednesday after data from both the EIA and API showed US stockpiles rose less than expected last week. Optimism surrounding the easing of coronavirus-related restrictions also supported sentiment, as parts of the US, Europe and Australia are gradually lifting lockdown measures while New Zealand has already allowed some businesses to re-open.
- The US economy shrank by an annualized 4.8% in the first quarter of 2020, ending the longest period of expansion in the country’s history, an advance estimate showed. It was the steepest pace of contraction in GDP since the last quarter of 2008, much worse than market consensus of a 4.0% slump, as the Covid-19 pandemic forced several states to impose lockdown measures in mid-March, throwing millions of people out of work. Household consumption fell the most since the fourth quarter of 1980 and business investment contracted for a fourth consecutive period. In addition, exports and imports were down sharply, while residential fixed investment rose as well as government spending.
- The annual inflation rate in Germany is expected to slow to 0.8% in April 2020, the lowest since November 2016 and compared to market expectations of 0.6%, a preliminary estimate showed. On the contrary, food inflation is likely to jump to 4.8% from 3.7%. On a monthly basis, consumer prices are expected to gain 0.3% in April.
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