European stocks retreated, posting the biggest two-day slump in more than four months, as European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said that the economic recovery in the euro area remains subject to downside risks.
In London the UK’s FTSE 100 shed 76 points (-1.2%) to settle at 6344, whilst the German DAX gave up 57 points (-0.7%) to close at 7817. U.S. stocks rose, rebounding from the biggest selloff in more than a month for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, as central banks’ pledges on stimulus efforts overshadowed a rise in American jobless claims.
Equities climbed after the Bank of Japan strengthened a stimulus program that will see the central bank buy 7 trillion yen ($73 billion) of bonds a month. Jobless claims rose by 28,000 to 385,000 in the week ended March 30, the highest since Nov. 24, Labor Department figures showed today in Washington.
The median forecast of 47 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a drop to 353,000. The results reflected the difficulty the government has adjusting the figures around the Easter holiday and spring break at schools.
Gold dropped to the lowest since May, nearing a bear market, on signs that investors are seeking higher returns in equities as the global economic recovery cuts demand for haven assets. Palladium fell the most since October.
Gold futures for June delivery fell 0.1% to settle at $1,552.40 an ounce on the Comex in New York, after dropping to $1,539.40 – the lowest for a most-active contract since 30 May.
Crude has tumbled almost $4 in two days as more Americans than projected filed applications for unemployment benefits, raising concern that slower U.S. growth may weaken fuel demand and boost supplies.
Oil for May delivery dropped $1.19 (-1.3%) to $93.26 a barrel on the NYMEX, the lowest settlement since 21 March. There is not major local economic data due out for today’s session.