World stocks rise on signs of coronavirus progress

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BANGKOK (AP) — World stocks rose Monday as investors gleaned hope from signs that the battle against the coronavirus pandemic may be making progress in some hard-hit areas.

Benchmarks were up about 3% in Paris and Frankfurt and Tokyo jumped more than 4%. Oil prices fell back after reports said a meeting between OPEC and Russia reportedly has been delayed until April 9.

The number of people dying appears to be slowing in New York City, Spain and Italy, news that was cautiously welcomed by leaders. But they noted that any gains could easily be reversed if people did not continue to adhere to strict lockdowns. Japan was preparing to ramp up its own precautions, reacting to worries that the virus is spreading more rapidly than earlier thought.

Germany's DAX added 4.6% to 9,960 and the CAC 40 in Paris picked up 3.6% to 4,302. Britain's FTSE 100 rose 2.1% to 5,529. The future contracts for the S&P 500 and for the Dow industrials were both up was up 3.8%.

Monday's gains followed another Friday session of losses after the U.S. said employers cut 701,000 more jobs than they added last month, the first drop in nearly a decade. Investors fled the market ahead of the weekend.

The Nikkei 225 index surged 4.2% to 18,576.30 after Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, said he will unveil a 108 trillion yen ($1 trillion) economic package on Tuesday.

Hong Kong's Hang Seng rose 2.2% to 23,749.12. South Korea's Kospi added 3.9% to 1,791.58, while the S&P/ASX 200 in Sydney advanced 4.3% to 5,286.80. Shares also rose in Taiwan and Southeast Asia.

Shanghai's market was closed for a public holiday.

The S&P 500 is down 26.5% since its record set in February.

Traders are bracing for future updates including Thursday’s weekly report on applications for unemployment benefits, which has been the closest thing to a real-time measure of how layoffs have swept the country. Companies will also soon begin reporting their profits for the first three months of the year, with reporting season beginning in earnest in two weeks.

The panic selling that dominated the first few weeks of the sell-off has eased a bit since governments and central banks unleashed massive amounts of aid to help markets and the economy. In the U.S., the Federal Reserve has promised to buy as many Treasury securities as it takes to keep lending markets running smoothly, and Congress approved a $2.2 trillion rescue plan for the economy.

Energy markets have recovered somewhat on expectations that Saudi Arabia and Russia might tone down a price war launched at a time when the world is awash in oil as demand collapses. Reports that a meeting planned for Monday has been pushed back to Thursday cast a shadow over Monday trading.

Benchmark U.S. crude lost 60 cents to $27.74 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. On Friday, it climbed 11.9% to $28.34 per barrel, adding on to its nearly 25% surge the day before.

Brent crude, the international standard, gave up 83 cents to $33.28 per barrel. It rose $4.17 on Friday to $34.11 a barrel.

In currency trading, the dollar rose to 108.94 Japanese yen from 108.48 yen on Friday. The euro edged down, to $1.0800 from $1.0812.

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