In US economic data, non-farm payrolls (employment) fell by 20.5 million in April - the biggest decline since the Great Depression (forecast fall of 22 million jobs). Employment previously fell 870,000 in March. The unemployment rate rose from 4.4% to a record 14.7% (forecast 16%). The participation rate fell from 62.7% to 60.2%. Average hourly earnings rose by 4.7% (forecast +0.5%).
US share markets were higher on Friday. Boosting sentiment were constructive trade talks between the US and China. The Energy sector rose 4.3% in response to a higher oil price. Shares in Apple rose 2.4% after the company said it would start reopening US stores. At the close of trade, the Dow Jones index was up 455 points or 1.9%. The S&P500 index was up by 1.7% and the Nasdaq index lifted 141 points or 1.6%. Over the week the Dow rose 2.6%, the S&P 500 rose by 3.5% and the Nasdaq gained 6%.
US treasury bond prices were weaker (yields higher) on Friday. US 2-year yields rose by 2 points to near 0.149%. US 10- year yields rose by 5 points to 0.681%. Over the week, US 2-year yields fell by 5 points while US 10-year yields rose by 4 points.
European share markets rose on Friday. Investors cited signs of improving US-China relations for lifting sentiment. Shares in the autos sector - sensitive to US-China trade relations - rose by 3%. Shares in ING Groep NV rose 3.6% after posting better-than expected earnings. The pan-European STOXX 600 lifted by 0.9% and rose 1.1% on the week. The German Dax index rose by 1.4% on Friday and the French market rose 1.1%. The UK share market was closed for a Bank Holiday.
The London Metal Exchange was closed for a bank holiday. Over the week metals rose. While aluminium was flat, copper and nickel rose by 3.2% and zinc rose the most, up 5.1%.
Major currencies were mixed against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro held between US$1.0815 and US$1.0870 and was around US$1.0840 at the US close of trade. The Aussie dollar held between US65.05 cents and US65.45 cents and was near US65.30 cents at the US close. The Japanese yen held between JPY106.28 per US dollar and JPY106.74 and was near JPY106.65 at the US close.
Global oil prices rose on Friday. Baker Hughes said that US oil rigs in operation fell by 33 to 325 in the latest week. Brent crude price rose by US$1.51 or 5.1% to US$30.97 a barrel. The US Nymex price rose by US$1.19 or 5.1% to US$24.74 a barrel. Over the week, Brent rose US$4.53 or 17.1%. Nymex rose by US$4.96 or 25.1%.
The gold futures price fell by US$11.90 or 0.7% to US$1,709.90 an ounce. Spot gold was near US$1,701 an ounce in late US trade. Over the week gold fell by US60c an ounce. Iron ore rose by US$4.25 or 5.0% to US$88.45 a tonne. Over the week iron ore rose by US$4.50 or 5.4%.
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