American markets opened Thursday by digesting harsh news that U.S. jobless claims had doubled from the week before to 6.6 million. Markets lacked direction until Trump tweeted mid-morning that after speaking with Russia and Saudi Arabia that both sides pledge to slash oil production by 10 million barrels a day.
Trump is notorious for playing with the truth, so skepticism endures, but the Saudis did call for an emergency meeting of OPEC+ including Russia. Hopes of a oil truce inflamed investors during Thursday’s session with the Dow and S&P gaining around 2.25%. Chevron popped 11% and Exxon climbed 7.65%.
In Canada, the TSX rose 1.72% as a barrel of WCS rocketed 66% to $8.79 and the energy sector soared 9.36%. In fact, the TSC’s top 19 gainers on Thursday were all oil names, starting with Torc (up 44%) and Meg (33.76%). The energy rally lifted almost every sector except tech, which was weighed down by Shopify announcing it was cancelling its 2020 outlook (the latest big company to do so). The announcement sent Shopify down 9.7% to below $500. The oil rally was welcomed by investors as North America and Europe continue their lockdowns and weather was is expected to be the peak period of COVID-19 cases before declining later this month.