What were analysts saying?
“Trade tensions between the U.S. and China is the biggest factor creating volatility,” Patrick Healey, president of Caliber Financial Partners told MarketWatch. “Investors are clinging to the recent positive news about trade negotiations, but we won’t see the end of this volatility until there is a concrete agreement in place,” he said.
Jobless claims were “much lower than expected following high-side surprises in the previous weeks,” Jim O’Sullivan, chief U.S. economist at High Frequency Economics, wrote in a note to clients. “This report should lessen fears that the labor market is weakening significantly.”
What stocks were in focus?
Shares of General Electric Co . /zigman2/quotes/208495069/composite GE -2.83% rallied 7.3% after the firm announced it would launch a $1.2 billion industrial “internet-of-things” company, and after JPMorgan separately upgraded the stock from underweight to neutral.
Aflac Inc . /zigman2/quotes/208944541/composite AFL -0.83% stock gained 6.6% after the insurer confirmed it is in talks with Japan Post Holdings Co. Ltd. to take a minority stake.
Shares of Delta Air Lines Inc. /zigman2/quotes/200327741/composite DAL -3.59% fell 4.8% after the airline announced 2019 earnings guidance of between $6 and $7 a share.
Monster Beverage Corp. shares slumped 7% following UBS’s initiation of coverage of the company with a sell rating.
Shares of Amazon.com Inc. /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN -0.74% slid 0.3% after the online retailer said Whole Foods, which it owns, is severing ties with delivery service Instacart Inc., which could result in around 240 Instacart employees getting laid off.
How were other markets trading?
Stock markets in Asia rose broadly, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +1.01% , Japan’s Nikkei /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -0.97% , and the Shanghai Composite Index /zigman2/quotes/210598127/delayed CN:SHCOMP +0.84% all ending the day higher.
In Europe, stocks closed lower after investors digested news of the end of the European Central Bank’s bond buying program, and as uncertainty around Brexit continued to weigh on sentiment.