Sat | May 30, 2020

Oil up, stocks down on grim economic news

Published:Friday | May 22, 2020 | 12:23 AM
A woman wearing a face mask walks past a bank’s electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index at Hong Kong Stock Exchange Thursday, May 21, 2020. Asian stock markets are mixed after Wall Street rose amid Chinese trade tension with Washington and Australia. Investors looked ahead to Friday’s meeting of China’s legislature for details of possible new steps by Beijing to stimulate its virus-battered economy.(AP Photo/Vincent Yu)
A woman wearing a face mask walks past a bank’s electronic board showing the Hong Kong share index at Hong Kong Stock Exchange Thursday, May 21, 2020. Asian stock markets are mixed after Wall Street rose amid Chinese trade tension with Washington and Australia. Investors looked ahead to Friday’s meeting of China’s legislature for details of possible new steps by Beijing to stimulate its virus-battered economy.(AP Photo/Vincent Yu)

US stock indexes veered broadly lower in afternoon trading Thursday, giving back some of their gains after a solid rally a day earlier.

The S&P 500 was down 0.6% in choppy trading as investors weighed more dismal news about the economic fallout from the coronavirus epidemic and the latest build-up of tensions between the United States and China. Bond yields were mixed. Oil prices rose.

The United States Labor Department said more than 2.4 million people applied for US unemployment benefits last week in the latest wave of layoffs from the outbreak that brings the total in two months to 38.6 million.

Meanwhile, investors had an eye on the latest flare-up in tensions between Washington and Beijing. The White House issued a report attacking China’s economic and military policies, and its human rights violations.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 87 points, or 0.4 per cent, to 24,489. The Nasdaq­ ­composite slid 0.7 per cent.

Oil prices headed higher for the sixth day in a row with the benchmark US crude oil up 0.6 per cent to US$33.69 a barrel. Brent crude oil, the international standard, was up 0.3 per cent to US$35.85 a barrel.

Crude oil started the year at about US$60 a barrel, but plummeted earlier this year as demand sank due to widespread travel and business shutdowns related to the coronavirus.

AP