U.S. stocks were lower after the close on Thursday, as losses in the Healthcare, Telecoms and Utilities sectors led shares lower. At the close in NYSE, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 0.43% to hit a new 1-month low, while the S&P 500 index lost 0.46%, and the NASDAQ Composite index declined 0.25%. Perhaps on the positive side, weekly jobless claims fell to a near 18-month low, allaying fears of a slowing economic recovery; this however stoked worries the Fed could move sooner than expected to scale back its accommodative policies. The Labor Department said initial claims for state unemployment benefits dropped 35,000 to a seasonally adjusted 310,000 for the week ended Sept. 4, the lowest level since mid-March 2020. That suggested that job growth could be hindered by labor shortages rather than cooling demand for workers.
Euro zone stocks bounced off session lows to end little changed on Thursday after the European Central Bank signaled it will only slightly reduce its emergency bond purchases over the coming quarter, as widely expected. After falling as much as 0.9% in morning trade, the pan-European STOXX 600 index ended largely unchanged around 467.57 points. The index had shed 1.5% over the past two days on fears of a more-hawkish-than-expected ECB. Rate-sensitive banking stocks in the bloc rose 0.2%, while real estate stocks led gains with a 1.0% rise. The ECB, while taking a token step towards unwinding the emergency aid, gave no signal of its next policy move, including how it might dismantle the 1.85-trillion-euro Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP), which has kept borrowing costs low for governments and businesses. UK’s FTSE 100 led losses among regional indexes with a 1.0% drop. Germany stocks were mixed after the close on Thursday, as gains in the Technology, Industrials and Financial Services sectors led shares higher while losses in the Telecoms, Software and Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare sectors led shares lower. At the close in Frankfurt, the DAX gained 0.08%, while the MDAX index climbed 0.49%, and the TecDAX index declined 0.03%.
Asian shares bounced back on Friday after two days of losses, as news of a call between leaders Xi Jinping and Joe Biden offered some relief to traders struggling to interpret choppy market reactions to central banks’ cautious moves to end stimulus. MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan, gained 0.8%, reversing losses in recent days to sit just 0.5% lower compared to last week’s close, in line with the global trend. Japan’s Nikkei rose 1.25%, and the broader Topix index touched its best level since 1990, with the risk -friendly mood helping extend the rally kicked off in late August by hopes for a new government.
The Russian stock market, which started trading in a minority, ended Thursday with a decrease in the Moscow Exchange index and a stable RTS index. In the morning, the Russian stock market resumed the decline in blue chips amid a deterioration in the external stock market due to expectations of the start of a reduction in stimulus measures by the European Central Bank; the Moscow Exchange index rolled back below 4000 points, while Rusal shares rose following the price of aluminum. By the evening, the stock market remained under selling pressure against the backdrop of negative dynamics on external stock exchanges and oil turned down (Brent fell below $ 72 per barrel), the decision of the ECB not to change rates and keep the volume of the asset repurchase program did not cause optimism among investors. The Moscow Exchange index fell by 0.59% – to 3993.56 points. The RTS index sank by only 0.01% and amounted to 1,726.37 points.
Oil prices fell to a two-week low on Thursday as China rolled out a plan to release state oil reserves, the U.S. weekly crude draw was smaller than expected and U.S. Treasuries rallied as investors sought safer assets. In volatile trade, Brent futures fell $1.15, or 1.6%, to settle at $71.45 a barrel; the move then reversed with the oil benchmark trading above $72 in early European trading. Gold futures finished higher on Thursday, reclaiming the $1,800-an-ounce mark after suffering from two straight days of losses