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GLOBAL MARKETS-Oil and stocks fall, dollar steadies on signs of slower U.S. recovery

Thu, 20th Aug 2020 16:07

(Updates with U.S. open, jobless data)

* U.S. jobless claims reinforce Fed's view of slower

* Graphic: 2020 asset performance

* Graphic: World FX rates in 2020

* Reuters Live Markets blog:

By Alwyn Scott

NEW YORK, Aug 20 (Reuters) - Oil and global equity markets
fell and the dollar steadied on Thursday as a poor reading of
the U.S. labor market added to concerns that the economic
recovery in the United States might be slower than previously

A surprise jump in U.S. jobless claims to more than 1
million in the week ended Aug. 15, reported on Thursday,
reinforced bearish Federal Reserve comments on Wednesday that
said job growth had slowed.

The new jobless claims reading was well above the forecast
of economists polled by Reuters that expected 925,000 new
applications in the latest week.

"Anytime there's concern about the economic recovery, that
always hurts," said Tim Ghriskey, chief investment strategist at
Inverness Counsel in New York.

While the long-term outlook for the economy is good, the
latest jobless number and Fed comments show "economic weakness
is not over by any means," he added.

The concerns hit value and economically sensitive stocks,
but have left tech and tech-related stocks relatively untouched.

Oil prices fell, as major producers warned of a risk to
demand recovery.

Brent crude futures were down 79 cents to $44.58 a
barrel, while U.S. crude futures slid $1.29 to $41.64 a

European shares and U.S. cyclical stocks continued to weigh
on the MSCI's benchmark for index global equity markets. The
index was down 0.24% to 571.95, while its index for emerging
markets stocks fell 0.5%.

Europe's broad FTSEurofirst 300 index dropped 1.15%
to 1,418.1.

On Wall Street, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell
0.03%, the S&P 500 lost 0.07% and the Nasdaq Composite
added 0.3%.

The dollar had been gaining ground since hitting a 27-month
low it hit on Tuesday. On Thursday, the dollar index was
down 0.002%, with the euro unchanged at $1.1836.0.024%.

The Japanese yen strengthened 0.15% versus the
greenback at 105.95 per dollar.

Wall Street was knocked from its recent highs on Wednesday
after the Fed's minutes from its July meeting spooked investors
by showing that the swift labor market rebound seen in May and
June had likely slowed.

The S&P 500 had reached an all-time high earlier in the week
as prices recovered to their pre-pandemic levels.

The sudden bearishness spilled into Asian markets overnight
and continued in the European session, although shares started
to recover as the morning progressed.

Several Fed policymakers said they may need to ease monetary
policy to help get the economy through the coronavirus pandemic.

"It's easy to forget that we've just experienced one of the
largest and most severe economic shocks on record," said Kaspar
Elmgreen, head of equities at Amundi.

"This story is not over yet, despite what the markets might
be indicating," he said.

"We are navigating a ship here with unusually low forward
visibility and a very wide range of outcomes."

Spot gold rebounded overnight and after the U.S. jobless
data on demand for the safe-haven asset.

Spot gold prices was up 0.8% at $1,944.37 an ounce.

(Reporting by Alwyn Scott and Elizabeth Howcroft; Editing by
Marguerita Choy and Steve Orlofsky)

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