The Markets (as of market close April 24, 2020)
The week started with stock indexes falling sharply on the heels of an historic plunge of crude oil into negative territory. The Dow dropped nearly 600 points and more than 2.4% by Monday's close. Minimal demand sent the prices for crude oil (CL=F) to -22.02 per barrel — down 222.06%.
Stocks continued to tumble on Tuesday as oil prices remained historically low. Each of the benchmarks listed here lost at least 2.3%, with the Nasdaq losing close to 3.5%. Concerns are increasing that the depressed demand for oil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic will continue well into the future. Also, the negative impact of the virus on the economy is being felt almost daily as more information is released.
The indexes recaptured some of the losses from earlier in the week on Wednesday. Some better-than-expected earnings reports, coupled with the Senate's passage of a deal to add another $484 billion earmarked for the small business aid program, COVID-19 testing, and hospital support, provided positive news for investors.
Oil prices surged last Thursday and Congress voted for further aid to small businesses, helping to boost stocks, but only marginally. Unfortunately, test results of a drug that might offer treatment for COVID-19 may not be as promising as hoped, weakening stock returns.
A rally pushed the benchmark indexes listed here higher last Friday, but not enough to avoid closing in the red for the week. The president signed a fourth piece of COVID-19 funding legislation last Friday. The Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act, a $484 billion bill, provides over $320 billion in new funding to replenish the Paycheck Protection Program, plus new funding for Economic Injury Disaster Loans, $75 billion for hospitals and community health centers, and $25 billion to enhance COVID-19 testing. Oil prices rose Friday but remain at historic lows. Of the indexes listed here, only the Russell 2000 closed the week ahead of its prior-week mark, but only barely. Both the Dow and Global Dow ended the week down by nearly 2.0%, while the S&P 500 fell over 1.25%. The tech stocks of the Nasdaq finished close to even, falling about 0.2% for the week.
Crude oil prices suffered their worst one-week decline in history last week, ultimately closing at $17.13 per barrel by late Friday afternoon, down from the prior week's price of $18.34. The price of gold (COMEX) rose last week, closing at $1,741.50 by late Friday afternoon, up from the prior week's price of $1,694.50. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $1.812 per gallon on April 20, 2020, $0.041 lower than the prior week's price and $1.029 less than a year ago.
The Markets (as of market close April 17, 2020)
Last weekend, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and other major oil-producing countries agreed to slash production as oil prices had fallen about 50% from their January peak. Lack of demand, primarily due to COVID-19, has sent oil prices tumbling. The stock market started out slowly on Monday but picked up some steam to pare losses. Of the major benchmark indexes listed here, only the Nasdaq closed the day up. Investors seemed to worry about what the pandemic would do to corporate earnings and shunned stocks for other investments, such as gold, which rose to its highest price in more than seven years.
Stocks rose sharply last Tuesday as each of the benchmark indexes listed here posted gains of between 1.97% (Global Dow) and 3.95% (Nasdaq). Investors had their hopes buoyed by growing optimism that the peak of the pandemic has been reached and a gradual reopening of the economy is not too far away.
Gains from earlier in the week were given back on Wednesday. Investors were hit with the harsh reality of the impact of COVID-19 on businesses as reflected in sagging corporate earnings. Energy companies and banks reported significant declines in earnings. And crude oil continued to fall, plunging below $19.00 per barrel by the end of the day.
Despite some rather sour economic news, Thursday saw investors generally stay the course as the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq recorded gains by the close of trading. But strong economic reports did not drive the market. In fact, the latest report from the Department of Labor revealed more than 5 million new claims for unemployment insurance, bringing the 4-week total to over 22 million. Some large financial institutions reported steep drops in quarterly earnings, home construction plummeted, and retail sales sank.
Stocks closed higher Friday to finish in the black for the second week in a row. Word of a possible treatment for COVID-19, coupled with President Trump's three-phase process for restarting the economy, gave investors the fortitude to stick with stocks. Each of the benchmark indexes listed here closed the week comfortably ahead, except for the small caps of the Russell 2000. The tech-heavy Nasdaq posted solid gains and is nearing its year-end closing value.
Crude oil prices continued to tumble last week, closing at $18.34 per barrel by late Friday afternoon, down from the prior week's price of $23.19. The price of gold (COMEX), which had been soaring, receded last week, closing at $1,694.50 by late Friday afternoon, down from the prior week's price of $1,715.40. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $1.853 per gallon on April 13, 2020, $0.071 lower than the prior week's price and $0.975 less than a year ago.
The Markets (as of market close April 3, 2020)
Stocks continued to rally at the beginning of last week amid hopes of enhanced testing for COVID-19. But by the end of the day Wednesday stocks slid, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq posting their largest single-day declines since March 18. Energy shares in particular were hit hard. The Dow fell 4.4% and the small caps of the Russell 2000 continued to collapse, dropping over 7.0% on Wednesday. Economically, the virus is overwhelming the job market, as the number of unemployment insurance claims broke records for the second consecutive week.
For the past several weeks Thursdays have become rebound days for the market, and last Thursday was no exception. The Dow and the S&P 500 closed the day up about 2.25%, respectively, while the Nasdaq picked up about 1.75%. Oil prices pushed higher on word of output cuts. But COVID-19 has shrunk the demand for oil, which will likely keep prices in check even with reduced production.
A dismal jobs report (see below) drove stocks lower by the close of trading last Friday. Analysts believe as poor as this report may be, it doesn't reflect the magnitude of the damage done by the virus. They point to the more than 10 million claims for unemployment insurance over the past two weeks as a further indicator that the worst is yet to come. As more information is released, investors will be able to assess the economic damage done by COVID-19.
After rallying to close the prior week with double-digit gains, investors reeled in those profits last week, pulling the benchmark indexes lower. The small caps of the Russell 2000 were hardest hit, falling more than 7.0%, followed by the Global Dow, the Dow, the S&P 500, and the Nasdaq, which was the only index not to fall at least 2.0%. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to a three-week low as bond prices soared, also affected by the latest job figures.
Oil prices climbed higher last week following news that production would be reduced, closing at $28.79 per barrel by late Friday afternoon, up from the prior week's price of $21.57. The price of gold (COMEX) rose again last week, closing at $1,649.30 by late Friday afternoon, up from the prior week's price of $1,625.30. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $2.005 per gallon on March 30, 2020, $0.115 lower than the prior week's price and $0.686 less than a year ago.
The Markets (as of market close March 27, 2020)
Stocks opened the week as they closed the previous one — in a tailspin. However, aggressive moves by the Federal Reserve late in the day, coupled with the hope of a massive aid package from Congress, helped push stocks higher during early trading Tuesday.
News of the passage of massive stimulus legislation (see below) was enough of a positive impetus to send investors back to the markets in droves on Tuesday. The Dow surged to its highest single-day gain since 1933 as it climbed more than 11% by the end of the day. Unfortunately, as debate on the bill continued by the closing bell on Wednesday, the benchmark indexes gave back most of the previous day's gains. The Dow closed up 2.39%, marking the first back-to-back daily gains since the first week of February.
Passage by the Senate of the coronavirus relief package Wednesday night spurred investor optimism as stocks surged Thursday, despite a record number of unemployment insurance claims primarily due to the COVID-19 virus. By the close of trading, each of the benchmark indexes had posted sizable gains, marking a legitimate bull run. But how long will it last?
Unfortunately, the ride didn't last as long as hoped as stocks closed last Friday in the red for the day, but significantly higher than they began the week. Following a volatile week of stock prices, the week closed with the Dow recording its best weekly gain since 1938. Ultimately, the passage of the massive coronavirus rescue package, referred to as the CARES Act, gave investors enough encouragement to plunge back into the market. Each of the benchmark indexes listed here posted double-digit weekly gains except for the tech stocks of the Nasdaq, which climbed 9.0% nonetheless. Long-term bond prices also rose, pushing yields lower by the end of the week as 10-year Treasuries yields fell almost 20 basis points.
Oil prices reversed course last week, closing marginally higher at $21.57 per barrel by late Friday afternoon, up from the prior week's price of $19.84. The price of gold (COMEX) also spiked last week, closing at $1,625.30 by late Friday afternoon, up from the prior week's price of $1,498.90. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $2.120 per gallon on March 23, 2020, $0.128 lower than the prior week's price and $0.503 less than a year ago.