Global markets end day slightly higher on quiet holiday trading

A currency trader talks on the phone at the foreign exchange dealing room of the KEB Hana Bank headquarters in Seoul on Friday.
(Ahn Young-joon / Associated Press)

Global stock indexes were mostly moderately higher in quiet holiday trading on Good Friday as the U.S. and other markets were closed.

Japan’s benchmark Nikkei 225 edged up 0.5% to finish at 22,200.56. South Korea’s Kospi inched up 0.1% to 2,216.15. The Shanghai Composite gained 0.6% to 3,270.80.

Aside from the U.S., markets were closed in Hong Kong, Australia, France, Germany and the U.K.


Overnight, major U.S. stock indexes capped the holiday shortened week with slight gains, although the marginal upward move was not enough to keep the benchmark S&P 500 index from snapping a string of three straight weekly gains.

The S&P 500 gained 4.58 points, or 0.2%, to 2,905.03. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 110 points, or 0.4%, to 26,559.54. The Nasdaq composite inched up 1.98 points higher, or less than 0.1%, to 7,998.06. The Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks dropped 1.85 points, or 0.1%, to 1,565.75.

Benchmark U.S. crude oil added 7 cents to $64.07 a barrel. It rose 0.4% to settle at $64 per barrel Thursday. Brent crude, the international standard, added 0.5% to $71.97 per barrel.

The dollar rose slightly to 111.92 Japanese yen from 111.89 yen late Thursday. The euro weakened to $1.1247 from $1.1258.

The week was highlighted by initial public offerings from Pinterest and Zoom Video Communications.

Pinterest, whose platform lets users share images of crafts and other projects, jumped 28.4% from its IPO price of $19 a share. Zoom, a maker of video conferencing technology, vaulted 72.2% from its IPO price of $36 a share.

The San Francisco companies’ market debuts came less than a month after ride-hailing firm Lyft began trading. Lyft shares surged their first day but have since plunged back below their IPO price.

The market also got a boost from positive economic data on U.S. retail sales and unemployment claims.

The Commerce Department said retail sales surged in March at the fastest pace since late 2017, driven by increased spending on autos, gasoline, furniture and clothing. The gains are a sign that the healthy job market has probably made consumers more likely to spend in ways that boost overall economic growth.

Meanwhile, the Labor Department said weekly applications for unemployment aid declined last week.