Wall Street Drifts Lower As Oil Prices Reverse Early Gains.
After a day of swinging between gains and losses, stocks on Wall Street ended with a small decline Wednesday.
Markets had been buoyed this week by signs that the countries hardest hit by the virus were slowly emerging from economically devastating lockdowns, though gains on Monday and Tuesday were small — as was Wednesday’s decline. The S&P 500 fell less than 1 percent.
The rest of the week will bring more concrete evidence of the severity of the damage caused by the shutdown, with a monthly report on unemployment Friday to provide a comprehensive look at the number of Americans out of work.
Already, reports on jobless claims have shown that more than 30 million workers in the United States sought unemployment benefits over the six weeks through April. Another weekly update is due on Thursday.
On Wednesday, the ADP National Employment Report showed the private sector work force had plunged by 20 million jobs in April. Separately, new data from the European Commission predicted a deep recession on the continent this year.
Oil prices, which had rebounded over the past two days, fell on Wednesday. The price of benchmark crude in the United States retreated to a little over $23 a barrel. Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell below $30 a barrel.