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US, European Stock Markets Jump on Labour Data

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Wall Street and European stocks rose on Thursday as an increase in US jobless claims signalled some cooling in the economy, easing concerns about the direction of interest rate hikes. news online

The US Federal Reserve and other central banks have hiked rates in efforts to rein in runaway inflation, but investors fear the aggressive policy could spark recession as higher borrowing costs slow economic activity.

Data on Thursday showed initial US jobless claims for the week ending December 24 rose more than expected to 225,000, indicating that the labour market is cooling.

Central bank policymakers have been particularly concerned about the labour market, where demand for workers has consistently exceeded supply, with wages picking up quickly.

The Paris CAC 40 index and the Frankfurt DAX closed around one percent higher while London’s FTSE 100 gained 0.2 percent.

Wall Street was up sharply in midday deals after tanking the previous day, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq soaring by more than 2.5 percent.

Traders said volumes remained thin in the final trading week of the year.

“More broadly, equity markets are just drifting into the New Year and will continue to be choppy for the rest of the week in what I expect will be very thin trade,” said OANDA trading platform analyst Craig Erlam.

In Asia, stock markets sank on concerns over China’s Covid surge.

The United States has joined a growing number of countries in imposing restrictions on visitors from China after Beijing announced it would remove curbs on overseas travel even as Covid cases grow.

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Investors had previously cheered the easing of the nation’s strict zero-Covid controls — which had hammered the world’s second-largest economy — but are now worried about the impact of the outbreak on global supply chains and inflation.

Oil prices drop

Elsewhere, world oil prices fell on Thursday, with traders concerned that the new China outbreak could fuel a global resurgence of the pandemic and ravage energy demand once again.

In Europe, Germany shrugged off Russia’s ban on oil sales to countries and companies that comply with a price cap on its crude exports.

The price ceiling of $60 per barrel agreed by the European Union, G7 and Australia came into force this month in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

It seeks to restrict Russia’s revenue while making sure it keeps supplying the global market.

Key figures around 1645 GMT

New York – Dow: UP 1.1 percent at 33,248.75 points

London – FTSE 100: UP 0.2 percent at 7,512.72 (close)

Frankfurt – DAX: UP 1.1 percent at 14,071.72 (close)

Paris – CAC 40: UP 1.0 percent at 6,573.47 (close)

EURO STOXX 50: UP 1.1 percent at 3,850.07

Tokyo – Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.9 percent at 26,093.67 (close)

Hong Kong – Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.8 percent at 19,741.14 (close)

Shanghai – Composite: DOWN 0.4 percent at 3,073.70 (close)

Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0667 from $1.0612 at 2215 GMT on Wednesday

Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2061 from $1.2018

Euro/pound: UP at 88.45 pence from 88.31 pence

Dollar/yen: DOWN at 133.21 yen from 134.47 yen

West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 1.1 percent at $77.11 per barrel

Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 1.1 percent at $83.03 per barrel


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