U.S. stocks swung between gains and losses, amid the best month in five, as the March rebound that had global equities on the brink of erasing losses for 2016 faltered. The dollar headed for its worst quarter in more than five years.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index pushed its March rally to 6.9 percent, while European equities fell with shares in Tokyo and Hong Kong. Emerging-market stocks added to a quarterly rally, and the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index headed for its worst month since 2010. Treasury yields slumped to the largest quarterly drop since 2012. Gold headed for its biggest three-month gain since 1986.
Global equities rose 7.1 percent in March, paring their quarterly decline to 0.3 percent as central banks from Asia to Europe and America signaled they stand ready to bolster flagging growth around the world. That spurred demand for risk assets after a six-week rout punished equities, commodities and emerging-market currencies amid concern China’s slowdown would spread. Equities trading remained light Thursday, and assets from Treasuries to metals were little changed ahead of jobs data in the U.S. Friday that will focus attention on the strength of the world’s largest economy as the second quarter kicks off.
Data Thursday showed that the number of applications for unemployment benefits climbed last week to a two-month high, a sign of more moderate labor market progress. Investors are awaiting Friday’s key non-farm payroll data for indications of the strength of the world’s biggest economy.