US stocks edge higher after GDP data; oil drops

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(Oct 29): US stocks edged higher a day after suffering their biggest rout in four months, supported by better-than-forecast economic data. Oil plunged for a second day on concern virus lockdowns will sap demand.

Auto shares led gains on the S&P 500 Index after data showed economic growth and jobless claims came in better than forecast. The tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 outperformed ahead of earnings reports from Apple Inc, Amazon.com Inc, Alphabet Inc and Facebook Inc due after the close. The US dollar strengthened and Treasuries held steady.

In Europe, stocks slumped as investors mulled record coronavirus infection rates across some of the continent’s biggest economies. The euro slipped for a fourth session as the European Central Bank left interest rates unchanged while saying that December forecasts may allow it to recalibrate its pandemic stimulus program.

Global equities are headed for the worst weekly decline since March amid new lockdown measures and US politicians’ failure to agree to a new stimulus plan before the Nov 3 election. Record one-day virus cases surfaced in Italy, Spain and Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel said authorities can no longer track infections back to their sources, opening the door to exponential growth.

“Market sentiment is turning, with investors buffeted by US election uncertainty and now economic worries from rising Covid-19 cases across Europe,” said Kerry Craig, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management. “These short-term forces are well beyond the control of individual investors, underscoring the need to maintain balance through the immediate uncertainty.”

Facebook and Alphabet are expected to report revenue growth aided by a rebound in the market for digital-advertising when they release third-quarter earnings later Thursday. Performance by peers Snap Inc and Pinterest Inc suggest that user growth generated by pandemic lockdowns is starting to boost spending as brands shift ad budgets to online platforms.

Stocks slumped in Asia, with losses for the main indexes in Japan, Australia and Hong Kong.

Here are the main market moves:

Stocks

  • The S&P 500 Index rose 0.4% as of 9:31am New York time.
  • The Nasdaq 100 Index increased 1%.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index declined 0.3%.
  • The MSCI Asia Pacific Index decreased 0.4%.

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index increased 0.3%.
  • The British pound declined 0.4% to US$1.2938.
  • The euro weakened 0.3% to US$1.1707.
  • The Japanese yen was little changed at 104.34 per US dollar.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose less than one basis point to 0.78%.
  • Germany’s 10-year yield declined one basis point to -0.64%.
  • Britain’s 10-year yield dipped one basis point to 0.20%.

Commodities

  • WTI crude declined 5.8% to US$35.22 a barrel.
  • Gold weakened 0.7% to US$1,864.89 an ounce.