World shares jump as Chinese leaders pledge help for economy

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Beijing, Apr.29 (BNA): World stocks advanced Friday after Chinese leaders pledged to do more to support the slowing economy as the country weathers its worst outbreaks of COVID-19 since the pandemic began.

Chinese state media reported that the ruling Communist Party’s powerful Politburo agreed at a meeting Friday to step up efforts to boost growth while also curbing coronavirus outbreaks.

But it said the meeting agreed on adjusting policies to keep the economy, which was slowing even before the latest waves of coronavirus infections, “operating in a reasonable range” and to speed up implementation of tax rebates and reductions, ensure enough energy supplies and help industries, small and medium-size businesses and families severely affected by the pandemic.

The message was more forthright than earlier ones, he said, but China “needs to follow up with actual policy. I cannot see anything new in the property market and no direct consumption support.”

The Shanghai Composite index gained 2.4% to 3,047.06 while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng index surged 4.1% to 21,101.27.

Tokyo was closed for a holiday, the first of several in Japan’s coming “Golden Week.”

In Seoul, the Kospi added 1% to 2,695.05, while Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 advanced 1.1% to 7,435.00, reports AP.

The price of U.S. benchmark crude oil gained 32 cents to $105.70 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It jumped $3.34 to 105.36 per barrel on Thursday.

Brent crude, the basis for pricing international oils, gained 73 cents to $107.99.

After hours on Thursday, SEC filings showed Elon Musk sold 4.4 million shares of Tesla stock worth roughly $4 billion, most likely to help fund his purchase of Twitter.

Tesla shares closed Thursday down slightly at $877.51. They are down 17% so far this year.

Major stock indexes on Wall Street notched their biggest gains in more than six weeks Thursday, as technology companies clawed back some of the ground they had lost recently.

The S&P 500 rose 2.5% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 1.8%. The Nasdaq picked up 3.1%, while the Russell 2000 added 1.8%.

The U.S. Federal Reserve is set to aggressively hike rates as it steps up its fight against inflation. The chair of the Fed has indicated the central bank may hike short-term interest rates by double the usual amount at upcoming meetings, starting next week. It has already raised its key overnight rate once, the first such increase since 2018.

Investors will get another update Friday on spending, a barometer for the economy as everything from food to clothing and gas becomes more expensive, when the Commerce Department releases its personal income and spending report for March.

In currency dealings, the dollar bought 130.13 Japanese yen, down from 130.87 yen. The euro rose to $1.0570 from $1.0536.