(Bloomberg) — U.S. stocks fluctuated as investors shifted through weekly unemployment claims amid increased trade tension between America and China. Crude oil gained for a sixth consecutive session.
All three main U.S. equity gauges started in the red before fluctuating after a report showed another 2.44 million Americans claiming jobless benefits. Markets were already on the back foot after the Senate overwhelmingly passed a bill that could bar some Chinese companies from listing on U.S. exchanges. President Donald Trump stoked tensions by tweeting criticism of Xi Jinping’s leadership, days before the biggest Chinese political gathering of the year.
Most Asian shares dipped along with the yuan in offshore trading. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell, with nearly all 19 sector groups in the red. Deutsche Lufthansa AG shares bucked the trend after the carrier said it was close to a multibillion-euro bailout deal from the German government.
Concern over the stress between the U.S. and China and global coronavirus cases reaching 5 million are vying for investor attention with optimism over reopening economies and progress on thwarting the pandemic. AstraZeneca Plc received more than $1 billion in American funding to develop a Covid-19 vaccine. Meanwhile, the U.S. legislation could lead to Chinese mega-companies such as Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Baidu Inc. being barred from exchanges. Both slipped in early trading.
“Markets may be pricing in far too much complacency as the U.S.-China ‘phase one’ trade deal could be at risk,” said Stephen Innes, chief global market strategist at AxiCorp. “The pandemic and resulting acute economic downturn have made China’s trade commitment to the U.S. much more challenging to fulfill.”
The fresh jobless data has once again underscored the economic hit from the virus. The latest jump in claimants takes the number of newly unemployed since the crisis began nine weeks ago to almost 40 million.
Elsewhere, crude oil climbed for a sixth day after a drop in U.S. stockpiles.
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