Financial Market Update
Welcome to the StrategicPoint Financial Market Update — a market and economic overview of what occurred last week and what’s up for this week. Please find our market commentary and most recent Blog posts in our StrategicPoint of View®.
Investors were guardedly optimistic last Monday as several countries and some states began to reopen their economies. The Russell 2000 jumped by nearly 4.0%, while the remaining indexes listed here all grabbed positive gains of at least 1.1%.
Indexes were mixed on Tuesday as the large caps of the Dow and S&P 500 lost less than one percentage point. But some tech stocks fell, pulling the Nasdaq down by close to 1.5%. The small caps of the Russell 2000 posted solid gains for the sixth day in a row. Despite the mixed market returns, consumer confidence in the current conditions plunged. In a precursor to this week’s jobs report, consumer respondents increasingly indicated that jobs are hard to get, while noting that business conditions are worsening.
Stocks closed notably higher Wednesday as investors were undeterred by a slumping economy, instead focusing on reports of a potentially favorable drug in the treatment of people stricken by COVID-19. This news followed recent reports from drug testing companies on a potential vaccine for the virus. The Russell 2000 again led the way, climbing nearly 5.0% by the end of the day.
A larger-than-expected increase in claims for unemployment insurance drove stocks lower last Thursday. The S&P 500 tumbled from its seven-week high while a jump in some tech stocks limited losses for the Nasdaq. The small caps of the Russell 2000, which had been surging, came back to earth, falling more than 3.5% by the end of Thursday’s trading.
The close of the week saw the Dow, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq give back gains from earlier in the week. Stocks retreated following disappointing earnings reports from some large tech companies, coupled with President Trump’s threat to impose import tariffs on China in retaliation for that country’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The week ended with only the small caps of the Russell 2000 and the Global Dow finishing in the black. Long-term bond yields climbed as prices fell.
Crude oil prices rebounded last week, as production cuts began last Friday. Prices closed the week at $19.71 per barrel by late Friday afternoon, up from the prior week’s price of $17.13. The price of gold (COMEX) dropped back last week, closing at $1,707.60 by late Friday afternoon, down from the prior week’s price of $1,741.50. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $1.773 per gallon on April 27, 2020, $0.039 lower than the prior week’s price and $1.114 less than a year ago.
S&P 500: 2830 (down 0.21% for the week and down 12.38% for the year)
NASDAQ: 8604 (down 0.34% for the week and down 4.10% for the year)
Dow: 23,723 (down 0.22% for the week and down 16.87% for the year)
US Treasury 10yr: 0.64% (from 0.59% last week)
Crude Oil (June): $19.78 (from $16.94 last week)
Gold (May): $1,700.90 (from $1,735.60 last week)
USD/Euro: $1.0981 (from $1.0823 last week)
Last Week’s Headlines
- Following its meeting on April 29, the Federal Open Market Committee decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at its current 0.00%-0.25%, noting that sharp declines in economic activity will likely continue. However, the Committee was clear that it would use its full range of tools to support the U.S. economy. In addition, the FOMC expects to maintain the target range until it is confident that the economy is progressing positively toward maximum employment and price stability.
- The pandemic cut economic production more than expected. The initial, or advance, estimate of the first quarter gross domestic product revealed that economic production decreased at an annual rate of 4.8%. That’s the steepest plunge since the fourth quarter of 2008. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis report, “The decline in first quarter GDP was, in part, due to the response to the spread of COVID-19, as governments issued ‘stay-at-home’ orders in March. This led to rapid changes in demand, as businesses and schools switched to remote work or canceled operations, and consumers canceled, restricted, or redirected their spending. The full economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic cannot be quantified in the GDP estimate for the first quarter of 2020 because the impacts are generally embedded in source data and cannot be separately identified.” Personal income increased $95.2 billion in the first quarter, compared with an increase of $144.1 billion in the fourth quarter. Disposable personal income increased $76.7 billion, or 1.9%, in the first quarter, compared with an increase of $123.7 billion, or 3.0%, in the fourth quarter. Consumer spending decreased 7.6% in the first quarter, compared with an increase of 1.8% in the fourth quarter.
- In yet another sign of a slowing economy due to the pandemic, consumer spending decreased $1,127.3 billion, or 7.5%, in March. Both personal income and disposable (after-tax) income fell 2.0%, respectively. Consumer prices dropped 0.3%. Excluding food and energy, prices decreased 0.1%. According to the latest Personal Income and Outlays report from the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the response to the pandemic led to rapid changes in demand, and consumers canceled, restricted, or redirected their spending.
- The international trade in goods deficit was $64.2 billion in March, up $4.3 billion from $59.9 billion in February. Exports of goods for March were $127.6 billion, $9.1 billion less than February exports. Imports of goods for March were $191.9 billion, $4.8 billion less than February imports.
- According to the IHS Markit final U.S. Manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index™, purchasing managers reported unprecedented contraction in manufacturing for April, directly related to the COVID-19 virus. The purchasing managers’ index registered 36.1, down from March’s 48.5, marking the lowest reading for more than 11 years. Manufacturing output saw the steepest decline in the history of the series.
- The other major purchasing managers’ report, the Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®, revealed declines in manufacturing similar to those from the Markit report. The April purchasing managers’ index fell 7.6 percentage points from the March figure, new orders decreased 15.1 percentage points, production dropped 20.2 percentage points, and employment decreased 16.3 percentage points.
- For the week ended April 25, there were 3,839,000 claims for unemployment insurance, a decrease of 603,000 from the previous week’s level, which was revised up by 15,000. According to the Department of Labor, the advance rate for insured unemployment claims was 12.4% for the week ended April 18, an increase of 1.5 percentage points from the previous week’s rate. This marks the highest level of insured unemployment rates in the history of the series. The advance number of those receiving unemployment insurance benefits during the week ended April 18 was 17,992,000, an increase of 2,174,000 from the prior week’s level, which was revised down by 158,000. Nevertheless, this marks the highest level of insured unemployment in the history of the series.
The most anticipated economic information out this week is the labor report for April. It is expected to reveal significant job reductions and soaring unemployment.
Unemployment, Oil and Expensive Market
On this episode of the novice and the nerd, Is the market expensive? Just how high can unemployment go? Was the price of oil really negative? Tune into this episode to hear Derek and Laura’s takes on these subjects and more!
What Could a Market Recovery Look Like?
Read our latest commentary by Chief Investment Officer Betsey A. Purinton, CFP® on what shape a market recovery might take.
*Past performance is not indicative of future results. Indices are unmanaged and you cannot directly invest in them. The Nasdaq Composite Index measures all NASDAQ U.S. and non-U.S. based common stocks listed on the Nasdaq Stock Market. The S&P 500 index is based on the average performance of 500 industrial stocks monitored by Standard and Poor’s. The data referred to above was taken from sources believed to be reliable. StrategicPoint Investment Advisors has not verified such data and no representation or warranty, expressed or implied, is made by StrategicPoint Investment Advisors.
Data sources: News items are based on reports from multiple commonly available international news sources (i.e. wire services) and are independently verified when necessary with secondary sources such as government agencies, corporate press releases, or trade organizations. Market data: Based on data reported in WSJ Market Data Center (indexes); U.S. Treasury (Treasury yields); U.S. Energy Information Administration/Bloomberg.com Market Data (oil spot price, WTI Cushing, OK); www.goldprice.org (spot gold/silver); Oanda/FX Street (currency exchange rates). All information is based on sources deemed reliable, but no warranty or guarantee is made as to its accuracy or completeness. Neither the information nor any opinion expressed herein constitutes a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any securities, and should not be relied on as financial advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. All investing involves risk, including the potential loss of principal, and there can be no guarantee that any investing strategy will be successful.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) is a price-weighted index composed of 30 widely traded blue-chip U.S. common stocks. The S&P 500 is a market-cap weighted index composed of the common stocks of 500 leading companies in leading industries of the U.S. economy. The NASDAQ Composite Index is a market-value weighted index of all common stocks listed on the NASDAQ stock exchange. The Russell 2000 is a market-cap weighted index composed of 2,000 U.S. small-cap common stocks. The Global Dow is an equally weighted index of 150 widely traded blue-chip common stocks worldwide. Market indices listed are unmanaged and are not available for direct investment.
The information contained in this post is not intended as investment, tax or legal advice. StrategicPoint Investment Advisors assumes no responsibility for any action or inaction resulting from the contents herein. Third party content does not reflect the view of the firm or of our parent company, Focus Financial Partners. LLC and is not reviewed for completeness or accuracy. It is provided for ease of reference.
Parts of this report were prepared by Broadridge Investor Communication Solutions, Inc. Copyright 2020. Part of this content contributed by Forefield, Inc.