• Crude oil futures have surged more than 20%
  • More than 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance last week
  • More than 990,000 coronavirus cases have been reported globally.


U.S. stocks rose in volatile trading on hopes that the oil price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia will soon end, although traders were jolted as more than 6.6 million Americans filed for initial jobless claims last week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 469.93 points to 21,413.44, while the S&P 500 rose 56.40 points to 2,526.90 and the Nasdaq Composite Index jumped 126.73 points to 7,487.31.

Volume on the New York Stock Exchange totaled 5.46 billion shares with 1,633 issues advancing, two setting new highs, and 1,345 declining, with 113 setting new lows.

Active movers were led by Luckin Coffee (LK); Carnival Corp. (CCL) and General Electric (GE).

President Donald Trump told CNBC that he spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, and that he expects both oil producers to cut production by about 10 million barrels.

Crude oil futures surged 21.91% at $24.76 per barrel, Brent crude slipped 0.1% at $29.91. Gold futures jumped 3.04%.

The Labor Department said Thursday that more than 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment insurance claims last week – meaning, 10 million have filed over the past two weeks.

“The [jobs] news is terrible and I’m not sure why the estimates the past two weeks have been so far off but we all know how rough things are,” said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group. “The only question it seems is timing. The timing of when that freaking curve bends and when we as a society decide to shift to a life resumption plan, masks included.”

More than 990,000 coronavirus cases have been reported globally, with more than 234,000 in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University.

“The incremental news on the virus in the last 24 to 48 hours has been disappointing,” said John Porter, a fund manager at Mellon Investments Corp.. “The global economy has hit a wall, there’s a tremendous amount of uncertainty, and that’s contributing to the volatility in the markets and the downward trajectory we’ve seen the last few days.

“While April will be an extremely volatile month in terms of both the news flow and stock market reactions, I do think many are anticipating this,” adde Boockvar. “What is not priced in I believe because it’s obviously hugely unknown is what is on the other end come May. How contained will this virus spread be by then? To what extent will things begin to reopen, if at all?”

Economists were stunned by the ongoing economic carnage.

“The output loss to date because of the shutdowns is already 2.5 times the output lost due to 9/11,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics. “It’s like a massive natural disaster, an earthquake shaking the whole country, the whole world.”

Zandi noted the total job loss from the 2008-2009 financial crisis was about 8.7 million.

Overnight in Asia, markets were mixed. China’s Shanghai Composite rose 1.69%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng edged up 0.84%, and Japan’s Nikkei-225 dropped 1.37%.

In Europe markets closed higher, as Britain’s FTSE-100 gained 0.47%, France’s CAC-40 moved up 0.33% and Germany’s DAX rose 0.27%.

The euro slipped 1.04% at $1.085 while the pound sterling edged up 0.24% at $1.2396.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury fell 1.26% to 0.627% while yield on the 30-year Treasury dropped 1.47% to 1.27%.