Wall Street set to jump on easing U.S.-China tensions, jobs report

(Reuters) – Wall Street was set to jump at the open on Friday as an easing in U.S.-China friction added to optimism from data showing the U.S. economy lost fewer jobs in April than feared due to the coronavirus crisis.

Official figures showed nonfarm payrolls plummeted 20.5 million in April – their steepest plunge since the Great Depression – but the number was still better than the 22 million forecast by economists.

“Going in, we knew we were going to see staggering job losses, but what we are looking at are temporary job losses, which gives us hope that those jobs could come back,” said Charlie Ripley, senior market strategist for Allianz Investment Management in Minneapolis.

Wall Street is now on course for its first weekly increase in three, with the Nasdaq recouping all its losses for 2020, as investors pinned their hopes on supply chains coming back on track and a revival in consumer spending after several U.S. states reopened economies.

On Thursday, financial markets began pricing in a negative U.S. interest rate environment for the first time ever, expecting the Federal Reserve to pump even more cash into the system to rescue the economy from a deep global recession.

“The disconnect between sanguine financial markets and an imploding real economy grows larger by the day as bets for more and more stimulus are leading Wall Street to turn a blind eye to how catastrophic economic data really are,” said Marios Hadjikyriacos, investment analyst at online broker XM.

Also lifting the mood on Friday, Beijing said Sino-U.S. trade negotiators had agreed to improve the atmosphere for the implementation of a Phase 1 deal, days after President Donald Trump threatened to impose new tariffs.

At 9:01 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were up 284 points, or 1.19%, S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were up 34 points, or 1.18% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were up 89 points, or 0.98%.

Among early movers, Disney rose 2.7% as tickets for the earliest days of Shanghai Disneyland’s re-opening in China sold out rapidly.

Uber Technologies Inc (UBER.N) jumped 5.9% as the company said its ride service bookings slowly recovered in recent weeks and that it expects a coronavirus-related slowdown will delay the goal of becoming profitable by a matter of quarters, not years.

But Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp (CTSH.O) fell 4.7% after the IT services and outsourcing firm warned of weak demand this year.

About 392 of the S&P 500 companies have reported so far and first-quarter earnings are expected to have fallen 12.1%, with analysts expecting an earnings recession by the second quarter, according to Refinitiv data.

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