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Asian stocks are mixed, US stock futures volatile following record jobless claims number

Asian stocks are mixed, US stock futures volatile following record jobless claims number

New York: Asian markets were mixed on Friday, as the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic continues to weigh on investors.

Japan’s Nikkei 225 (N225) was up 0.7%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index (HSI) fell 0.6% and China’s Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) dipped 0.2%.

“As uncertainties arise from the global economic fallout of COVID-19, global growth may worsen before improving and market volatility and risk aversion will persist,” Tai Hui, chief market strategist for Asia at JP Morgan, said in a note on Friday.

US stock futures are down, following an upbeat day on Wall Street. Dow (INDU) futures fell 188 points, or 0.9%. S&P 500 (SPX) futures were down about 0.9% and Nasdaq (COMP) futures fell about 0.8%.

Stocks closed Thursday higher, driven by energy stocks, which shot up by a record 25% after President Donald Trump called for production cuts.

The oil market has suffered from decreased demand amid the coronavirus crisis at the same time that Saudi Arabia and Russia have been locked in a price war, flooding the market with additional supply.

Thursday’s gains came despite the highest initial jobless claims report in American history, as coronavirus forces a growing number of businesses to shutter and lay off or furlough employees. Around 6.6 million people filed for first-time unemployment benefits in the week ended March 28 — more than the previous record of 3.3. million initial clams in the prior week — bringing the total number of initial jobless claims filed in March to more than 10 million.

And the spread of the coronavirus outbreak is not letting up. There are now more than 1 million cases of the virus globally, with more than 238,000 in the United States.