U.S. Equity Markets surged on positive economic data, with all three main Indexes closing at new all-time highs. Jobless claims fell, and came in well below estimates. In fact, they hit the lowest level since the pandemic disrupted the labour market last March. This is a good sign for the labour market’s recovery. Retail sales data also surged in March, boosted by the most recent round of stimulus cheques. That marked the second month-over-month increase for retail sales so far in 2021. Housing market data also gave reason for optimism. Homebuilder sentiment increased in April, despite headwinds from high supply-chain costs, as demand remains elevated. Vaccine news was positive once again, with Moderna saying that it could have a booster shot for COVID-19 strains ready by the fall. Earnings continued to show optimism over the economy, with Bank of America posting better-than-expected earnings and revenue. European Markets closed higher for the second consecutive trading session. European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said the economy will need both fiscal and monetary support until well after the COVID-19 crisis is over. European Union Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides said it is still aiming to have 70% of all adults in the region vaccinated by the end of the summer. The International Monetary Fund (“IMF”) told the EU to boost spending by 3% of gross domestic product in order to fuel the economic recovery. Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said the economy was gathering upward momentum, but the central bank will continue to support financial and economic stability. The People’s Bank of China left its one-year medium-term lending facility rate unchanged, signalling it did not see the need for easier terms for financial institution borrowing. South Korea’s central bank left interest rates unchanged, as Governor Lee Ju-Yeol said he anticipates economic growth in the mid-3% range this year versus 3% last year. Elsewhere, Gold surged 1.68% on a major drop in Treasury yields and weakness in the dollar, while Bitcoin rose 2.53% as cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase debuted on the Nasdaq exchange.
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