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In US economic data, according to Challenger, US-based companies announced plans to cut 24,286 jobs from payrolls in April (survey: 22,000). New claims for unemployment insurance rose by 19,000 to 200,000 in the past week (survey: 182,000). Unit labour costs rose by 11.6% in the March quarter (survey: +9.9%). Non-farm productivity fell 7.5% in the quarter (survey: -5.4%).

European sharemarkets were mixed on Thursday. Travel & leisure fell 3.7%, leading the declines. Banks fell by 1.9% and insurance fell by 2.8%. But shares in Airbus rose 6.3% after reporting a better-than-expected quarterly profit. And oil giant Shell rose 3.1%, lifting the oil and gas sector, in response to a record quarterly profit. As expected, the Bank of England lifted its key Bank Rate by a quarter of a per cent to 1.00%. The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell by 0.7%. The German Dax lost 0.5%. But the UK sharemarket rose by 0.1%. In London trade shares in Rio Tinto and BHP both fell by 0.2%.

US sharemarkets slumped on Thursday. Falls occurred across the board, led by technology, and reversing gains from the previous day.Investors expressed doubts on the ability of the Federal Reserve to
get inflation under control. But shares in Twitter rose 2.7% with Elon Musk revealing new backers of his takeover of the social media company. The Dow Jones fell by 1,063 points or 3.1% after rising by
932 points or 2.8% the previous day. The S&P 500 index fell by 3.6%. And the Nasdaq index slumped by 647 points or 5.0%.

US long-term treasuries fell on Thursday (yields higher). US 10-year yields rose by 12 points to near 3.03%. And US 2-year yields fell by 9 points to near 2.71%.


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Major currencies were weaker against the US dollar in European and US trade. The Euro fell from US$1.0615 to US$1.0490 and was near US$1.0545 at the US close. The Aussie dollar fell from
US72.45 cents to US70.80 cents and was near US71.15 cents at the US close. And the Japanese yen fell from 129.25 yen per US dollar to JPY130.53 and was near JPY130.10 at the US close.

Global oil prices rose by around 0.5% on Thursday. As expected, OPEC+ nations agreed to raise June production by 432,000 barrels per day, in line with its plan to unwind curbs made when Covid was
crimping oil demand. Investors also focussed on European plans to restrict Russian oil imports. But a stronger US dollar made oil dearer for buyers in Europe and Asia. The Brent crude price rose by US76
cents or 0.7% to US$110.90 a barrel. US Nymex crude rose by US45 cents or 0.4% to US$108.26 a barrel.

Base metal prices fell by between 0.4-1.7% on Thursday with tin down the least and nickel down the most. The exception was copper, up 0.5%.

The gold futures price rose by US$6.90 or 0.4% to US$1,875.70 an ounce. Spot gold was trading near US$1,877 an ounce at the US close. The iron ore futures price rose by US$2.40 or 1.7% to US$145.20 a tonne. Ahead: In Australia, the Statement on Monetary Policy is released. In the US, non-farm payrolls (employment) are released with consumer credit.

Originally published by CommSec