European Shares Set To Open On Cautious Note

European stocks are likely to open lower on Friday as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases crossed the 1 million mark globally with a death toll of 53,030, according to the new tally from Johns Hopkins University.

Around 1,015,403 people have been diagnosed with the novel coronavirus across the world.

The U.S. has the highest number of infection cases, at 245,213, along with 5,983 deaths. Italy has the most deaths, more than 13,900, followed by Spain.

Fears are growing that virus-led economic disruptions could be far more punishing and long lasting than initially thought.

As coronavirus crisis escalates, Fitch Ratings expects a deep global recession this year, with the fall in 2020 GDP on par with the global financial crisis.

According to the latest update of its Global Economic Outlook, World economic activity will decline 1.9 percent in 2020.

The rating agency expects US GDP to fall by 3.3 percent, the euro area by 4.2 percent and the UK to drop 3.9 percent this year.

China’s recovery from the disruption in the first quarter of 2020 will be sharply curtailed by the global recession and annual growth will be below 2 percent, Fitch noted.

The U.S. recession is here and how quickly the country will bounce back will depend upon the course of the viral pandemic, the extent of support the federal government provides and how effectively it may be used to stem millions of job losses, Fed officials said Thursday.

Asian markets are trading mixed after Wall Street gained for the first time in three days led by beaten-down energy stocks.

Oil prices retreated after notching their biggest one-day surge on record amid hopes the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia would end soon.

U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted later in the day that he expects a sharp 15 million barrels output cut from Russia and Saudi Arabia.

The dollar rose for a second straight session while gold hovered near the $1600 mark after another large jump in first-time jobless claims in the U.S.

In economic releases, China’s services activity contracted in March, albeit at a slower pace, as the sector faces challenging conditions in March amid the Covid-19 outbreak, survey data from IHS Markit showed.

The Caixin services Purchasing Managers’ Index rose to 43.0 from 26.5 in February. The composite output index advanced to 46.7 in March from 27.5 a month ago. This was the second-lowest score in eleven years.

Final composite Purchasing Managers’ survey data and retail sales figures from euro area are due later in the session, headlining a busy day for the European economic news.

The U.S. Labor Department is scheduled to release its usually closely-watched monthly employment report later today, although the data may be seen as old news as the employment survey was conducted three weeks ago.

Economists expect the report to show employment fell by 100,000 jobs in March after an increase of 273,000 jobs in February. The unemployment rate is expected to climb to 3.8 percent from 3.5 percent.

U.S. stocks rose sharply overnight as investors reacted to news about rising
coronavirus cases, record jobless claims in the U.S., and a whopping rise in crude oil prices amid reports suggesting a likely end to the price war in the oil market.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied 2.2 percent, the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite surged 1.7 percent and the S&P 500 added 2.3 percent.

European stocks ended higher on Thursday after a late-session rally in the energy sector.

The pan European Stoxx 600 added 0.4 percent. The German DAX and France’s CAC 40 index both edged up about 0.3 percent, while the U.K.’s FTSE 100 gained half a percent.

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