Global stock markets have experienced a shaky start to the second quarter this week as investors to assess the potential economic ramifications of widespread lockdowns and the persistent spread of the coronavirus.
The pan-European Stoxx 600 hovered around 0.2% below the flatline in early deals, with insurance stocks sliding 2.3% to lead losses while media stocks added 1%.
The number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus worldwide surpassed 1 million on Thursday night, resulting in more than 53,000 deaths so far. Italy and Spain have reported over 115,000 and 112,000 cases, respectively, while Germany now has more than 84,000 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University.
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Global stock markets have experienced a shaky start to the second quarter this week as investors continue to assess the potential economic ramifications of widespread lockdowns and the persistent spread of the virus, along with the fiscal and monetary measures being deployed by governments and central banks to mitigate the crisis.
Asian markets were muted on Friday after an initial gain in momentum after oil prices experienced their biggest one-day surge on record, but crude futures retraced some of their gains by Asian afternoon trade.
The sharp moves in crude futures came after U.S. President Donald Trump told CNBC’s Joe Kernen that he expected Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman to agree to an oil production cut of 10 million to 15 million barrels, potentially halting a bruising price war between the two oil powerhouses.
On the data front, individual and collective final euro zone Markit composite and services PMI (purchasing managers’ index) readings for March are due at 9 a.m. London time, before February’s retail sales numbers at 10 a.m.
U.K. Markit/CIPS composite and services PMIs are expected at 9:30 a.m.