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Global stocks fall as Wall Street’s rally fades.

Stocks fell modestly in Asia and Europe on Friday, setting the stage for a downbeat end to a turbulent week in financial markets.

European markets opened mildly lower. Futures markets suggested Wall Street would open lower as well.

Wall Street stocks jumped on Thursday after President Trump suggested that Saudi Arabia and Russia would call a truce in their clash over oil prices and would cut production.

While plentiful oil supplies and low fuel prices are generally positive for the global economy, the clash over prices came at a time of declining demand as the response to the coronavirus outbreak slowed economic activity around the world. Plunging oil prices threatened to destabilize countries and regions where the local economy depends on oil production.

Oil prices surged on Thursday after Mr. Trump’s comments sparked a rally, and on Friday the upswing continued at a more restrained pace. Bond prices rose, as investors sought to put their money in investments generally considered safe.

In Japan, the Nikkei 225 index was flat. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index fell 0.4 percent. In mainland China, the Shanghai Composite index fell 0.6 percent, while South Korea’s Kospi was flat.

In London, the FTSE 100 opened 1 percent lower. France’s CAC 40 index was down 0.6 percent, while the DAX in was down 0.3 percent.


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Oil prices surge after Trump tweets about production cuts.

Oil prices surged on Thursday, setting off a rally in shares of energy companies, after President Trump said that he expected that Saudi Arabia and Russia would substantially cut their oil production to halt the collapse of prices.

Crude oil futures, which had already been climbing on Thursday, surged and shares of oil and gas companies rallied. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. crude benchmark, rose about 25 percent, and Occidental Petroleum was the best performing stock in the S&P 500, with a gain of about 19 percent. Apache rose nearly 17 percent, and Halliburton gained more than 13 percent.

The rally bolstered the stock market, with the S&P 500 ending the day up more than 2 percent.

Oil prices had been hammered as the coronavirus pandemic all but eliminated travel and damped demand for energy. A price war that broke out between Saudi Arabia and Russia last month intensified the decline. After the countries failed to reach a deal on production cuts, both instead increased output in an effort to gain market share.

The combination of slumping demand and the contest between two of the world’s largest oil producers had pushed crude oil prices down by 55 percent in March alone, wreaking havoc on the , with oil companies slashing budgets, and refineries cutting production of gasoline, diesel and jet fuel.

The possibility of some relief to the industry was also welcomed by stock investors looking for some good news. Earlier on Thursday, a report on jobless claims showed that 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week in the latest sign of the economic damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic.

Google will provide user location data for virus tracking.

Google said it is using the data it collects about where people go to help governments and public health officials evaluate the effectiveness of policies — like sheltering in place and working from home — designed to thin crowds in public places.

In a blog post early Friday, Google said it is publishing so-called “mobility reports” for 131 countries based on aggregated and anonymized location data from Google Maps users to show recent changes in . There are also regional breakdowns. In the United States, Google will detail data for all 50 states and counties within those states.

The reports derive from how Google Maps taps into location data to offer users information about how busy restaurants or stores may be on a certain day of the week or time of day. Google said it is using “Location History” data provided by users. The feature is not on by default, and users must opt in to share location data with the company. The company said it will share the data in aggregate so individual movements are not revealed.

“We have heard from public health officials that this same type of aggregated, anonymized data could be helpful as they make critical decisions to combat Covid-19,” Jen Fitzpatrick, a senior vice president for Google Maps, and , chief health officer at Google Health, wrote in the blog post.

The monthly jobs report on Friday is expected to end almost a decade of gains.

Another measurement of the economic devastation wrought by the coronavirus pandemic across the United States will be coming on Friday. It may not be a big number, but it is likely to be a milestone.

The figure, from the Labor Department’s employment report for March, is expected to show a net loss of jobs for the first time since late 2010. The data was mostly collected in the first half of the month, before the wave of business closings and layoffs that have led to nearly 10 million new unemployment claims in the past two weeks.

Economists on Wall Street are looking for the report to show a loss of 100,000 jobs, with a rise in the unemployment rate to 3.8 percent from a half-century low of 3.5 percent in February.

But double-digit figures for joblessness may be coming soon. The Congressional Budget Office said on Thursday that it expected unemployment to top 10 percent for the second quarter of 2020 — as high as the peak in the last recession — and to remain at 9 percent at the end of 2021.

Before the pandemic upended normal commerce, the economy had created jobs for 113 months in a row, more than twice the previous record. In that time, a net total of 22.2 million jobs were created in a steady if not always spectacular expansion.

Reporting was contributed by , Nelson D. Schwartz, , Carlos Tejada and Daniel Victor.

  • Updated March 24, 2020

    • How does coronavirus spread?

      It seems to spread very easily from person to person, especially in homes, hospitals and other confined spaces. The pathogen can be carried on tiny respiratory droplets that fall as they are coughed or sneezed out. It may also be transmitted when we touch a contaminated surface and then touch our face.

    • What makes this outbreak so different?

      Unlike the flu, there is no known treatment or vaccine, and little is known about this particular virus so far. It seems to be more lethal than the flu, but the numbers are still uncertain. And it hits the elderly and those with underlying conditions — not just those with respiratory diseases — particularly hard.

    • What should I do if I feel sick?

      If you’ve been exposed to the coronavirus or think you have, and have a fever or symptoms like a cough or difficulty breathing, call a doctor. They should give you advice on whether you should be tested, how to get tested, and how to seek medical treatment without potentially infecting or exposing others.

    • What if somebody in my family gets sick?

      If the family member doesn’t need hospitalization and can be cared for at home, you should help him or her with basic needs and monitor the symptoms, while also keeping as much distance as possible, according to guidelines issued by the C.D.C. If there’s space, the sick family member should stay in a separate room and use a separate bathroom. If masks are available, both the sick person and the caregiver should wear them when the caregiver enters the room. Make sure not to share any dishes or other household items and to regularly clean surfaces like counters, doorknobs, toilets and tables. Don’t forget to wash your hands frequently.

    • Should I wear a mask?

      Experts are divided on how much protection a regular surgical mask, or even a scarf, can provide for people who aren’t yet sick. The W.H.O. and C.D.C. say that unless you’re already sick, or caring for someone who is, wearing a face mask isn’t necessary. and other news outlets have been reporting that the wearing of face masks may not help healthy people, noting that while masks can help prevent the spread of a virus if you are infected, most surgical masks are too loose to prevent inhalation of the virus and the more effective N95 masks, because of shortages at health centers worldwide, should be used only by medical personnel. But researchers are also finding that there are more cases of asymptomatic transmission than were known early on in the pandemic. And a few experts say that masks could offer some protection in crowded places where it is not possible to stay 6 feet away from other people. Masks don’t replace hand-washing and social distancing.

    • Should I stock up on groceries?

      Plan two weeks of meals if possible. But people should not hoard food or supplies. Despite the empty shelves, the supply chain remains strong. And remember to wipe the handle of the grocery cart with a disinfecting wipe and wash your hands as soon as you get home.

    • Should I pull my money from the markets?

      That’s not a good idea. Even if you’re retired, having a balanced portfolio of stocks and bonds so that your money keeps up with inflation, or even grows, makes sense. But retirees may want to think about having enough cash set aside for a year’s worth of living expenses and big payments needed over the next five years.


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