Dollar strengthens as jobless claims fall
US stock market extended losses on Thursday as global growth slowing concerns came to fore again following ECB pledge to keep rates low longer. The S&P 500 lost 0.8% to 2748.93. The Dow Jones industrial average slid 0.8% to 25473.23. Nasdaq composite index fell 1.1% to 7421.46. The dollar strengthening accelerated as initial jobless claims fell more than forecast last week: the live dollar index data show the ICE US Dollar index, a measure of the dollar’s strength against a basket of six rival currencies, rose 0.8% to 97.61 but is lower currently. Futures on US stock indexes point to lower openings today.
European Indexes fall as ECB says low rates will stay longer
European stocks extended losses on Thursday as European Central Bank cut euro-zone growth forecasts for 2019. GBP/USD joined EUR/USD’s tumble as the ECB pushed out the prospect of a first hike in interest rate further from previously announced summer of 2019 as the bank left interest rates unchanged. The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell 0.4% led by bank shares. Germany’s DAX 30 dropped 0.6% to 11517.80. France’s CAC 40 slid 0.4% and UK’s FTSE 100 lost 0.5% to 7157.55.
Shanghai Composite leads Asian indices losses
Asian stock indices are falling today after disappointing Chinese trade data. Nikkei fell 2% to 21025.56 with yen climb against the dollar accelerating. China’s stocks fell sharply as data showed exports fell 20.7% in February: the Shanghai Composite Index dropped 4.4% and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index is 2% lower. Australia’s All Ordinaries Index turned 1% lower despite persistent Australian dollar slide against the greenback.
Brent futures prices are falling today while OPEC cuts provide support. Prices rose yesterday on reports OPEC output fell to its lowest in nearly four years in February: Brent for May settlement closed 0.5% higher at $66.30 a barrel on Thursday.