At Friday’s close, the FTSE 100 lost 1.7% for the week; a modest move given the huge volatility since the Covid-19 crisis started. Against this fall, oil stocks staged a major rally on speculation that Russia may join OPEC and oil majors to cut production. Despite this big news, it was a sideshow to some remarkable weekly US jobs data showed a doubling of the jobless claims to 6.6 million, ten times the largest figure ever recorded. In the UK, banks suspended their dividend payments with the Bank of England’s blessing as a precaution against a worse-case extension to the Covid-19 crisis. It’s hard to say how long the market is expecting this to last. The impact to the economy over the summer months is being assessed but, in the meantime, stocks, bonds and commodities are reacting to every twitch and turn in daily news from government and healthcare officials. Friday was another “down day” reflecting a reluctance of traders to carry positions over a busy weekend for news flow. However, it does appear that, for now, markets have found a level.
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