NEW YORK (Reuters) - Sterling rose versus the dollar and U.S. stocks broke a five-day losing streak on Thursday as campaigning for Britain’s vote on whether to leave the European Union was temporarily suspended following the shooting death of a pro-EU British lawmaker.
Oil prices fell for a sixth straight session on global economic worries.
British Member of Parliament Jo Cox, who was shot dead in the street in her constituency in northern England earlier in the day, had been a vocal supporter of Britain remaining within the EU.
Whether Britain will leave the EU, dubbed “Brexit,” has rattled markets in recent sessions because of its potential to create more global economic uncertainty. The issue will be decided in a referendum next Thursday.
The British pound gained following the news of Cox’s death. It was up 0.2 percent against the dollar at $1.4209 GBP= after trading lower for most of the session.
“Certainly people are talking about the possibility that this (incident) does influence the Brexit vote in favor of remain. It is a tragic event all around. There is a sense, there is an immediate emotional reaction, but there is still a week before the referendum itself” on June 23, said Alan Ruskin, global co-head of FX research at Deutsche Bank in New York.
The rival referendum campaign groups said they were suspending activities for the day, with the Remain camp saying its activities would also be suspended on Friday.
The benchmark S&P 500 index snapped a five-day losing streak after erasing sharp losses earlier in the session.
The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI closed up 92.93 points, or 0.53 percent, to 17,733.1, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 6.49 points, or 0.31 percent, to 2,077.99 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC ended 9.98 points, or 0.21 percent, higher at 4,844.92.
The European FTSEurofirst 300 index .FTEU3 closed down 0.5 percent.
Oil prices extended recent losses to a sixth day, their longest slide since early January.
Brent crude futures LCOc1 fell $1.78, or 3.6 percent, to settle at $47.19 a barrel, while U.S. crude CLc1 dropped $1.80, or 3.8 percent, to settle at $46.21.
Brent has lost about $5 a barrel, or around 10 percent, over the past six sessions.
The yen jumped to its strongest in nearly two years versus the dollar after the Bank of Japan held off from further easing monetary policy. The dollar was down 1.6 percent to 104.34 yen JPY=.
The Bank of Japan’s decision weighed on U.S. bond yields, which fell to their lowest in four years.
Benchmark 10-year Treasury US10YT=RR notes were last up 8/32 in price to yield 1.565 percent. Yields fell as low as 1.518 percent in early trading.
Additional reporting by Dan Bases in New York and Vikram Subhedar and Atul Prakash in London; Editing by Bernadette Baum and James Dalgleish