The Markets (as of market close April 9, 2020)
In observance of Good Friday, the stock market closed for business at the final bell last Thursday. The week started out with a bang as stocks soared in value on Monday with each of the benchmark indexes posting sizable gains. Investors were buoyed by the latest data, which showed that the spread of COVID-19 may be slowing in New York, the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States. The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq enjoyed the largest single-day gains since March 24. Unfortunately, the gains were given back on Tuesday as investors wondered whether the virus was actually slowing. Oil prices sank and bond prices dropped, pushing yields higher.
Stocks soared midweek on word late Wednesday afternoon that the federal government was considering easing the containment restrictions put in place to fight the spread of COVID-19. The official end of the presidential bid by Bernie Sanders who pledged to tighten restrictions on Wall Street and big corporations, also may have played a part in the market surge. By the close of the day, the Dow and S&P 500 had gained nearly 3.5%, the Nasdaq had climbed about 2.6%, and the small caps of the Russell 2000, which had been hit particularly hard of late, had vaulted ahead by more than 4.6%.
Stocks closed the holiday-shortened week ahead for a change. Thursday’s trading resulted in further gains on the news that the Federal Reserve would release $2.3 trillion in funds through its lending programs to states, cities, and midsized businesses. The Fed also said it would support riskier corporate bonds. Investors were also encouraged by the proposed agreement by major oil exporters to cut production. Each of the benchmark indexes listed here posted solid weekly gains, led by the Russell 2000, which climbed more than 18.0%. The remaining indexes all boasted gains of more than 10.0%. While the upswing in market returns is encouraging, economic indicators are not so positive. Another 6 million claims for unemployment insurance were filed, and oil prices, despite the potential rollback in production, remain muted.
Despite news that some major oil-producing nations may be nearing an agreement to cut production, prices fell last week, closing at $23.19 per barrel by late Thursday afternoon, down from the prior week’s price of $28.79. The price of gold (COMEX) continued to climb last week, closing at $1,715.40 by late Thursday afternoon, up from the prior week’s price of $1,649.30. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $1.924 per gallon on April 6, 2020, $0.081 lower than the prior week’s price and $0.821 less than a year ago.  Click here for more: Winthrop Partners Weekly Update 4-13-2020