The Markets (as of market close July 3, 2020)
Domestic stocks surged last Monday, as a robust pending home sales report overshadowed an increase in COVID-19 cases. Pending sales of existing homes soared over 44% in May, a record-setting rate that should lead to gains in existing homes sales in June and July. A jump in Boeing Co. stock helped propel the S&P 500, which virtually wiped out its June losses. The small caps of the Russell 2000 climbed more than 3.0%, followed by the Dow, the S&P 500, the Nasdaq, and the Global Dow. Crude oil prices gained nearly 3.0% while bond yields were unchanged.
Equities closed what proved to be a volatile June on a high note. The Dow ended Tuesday up 0.9%, the S&P 500 gained 1.5%, and the Global Dow rose 0.8%. But the big winners were the Russell 2000, up 1.4%, and the Nasdaq, which climbed 1.9%. Investors pushed stocks higher despite sobering news related to the ongoing battle against COVID-19. Top government health adviser, Dr. Anthony Fauci cautioned that a COVID-19 vaccine remains uncertain. Also, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, during testimony before the House Committee on Financial Services, stated that while economic data is showing some positive signs, economic growth remains extraordinarily uncertain and will depend in large part on success in containing the virus.
Wednesday produced a mixed bag for stocks. The Nasdaq, Global Dow, and S&P 500 posted gains, while the Dow and Russell 2000 lost value. Crude oil prices advanced, while Treasuries and the dollar fell. Early in the day stocks climbed on news that preliminary tests of a COVID-19 vaccine developed by Pfizer and BioNTech were favorable. However, the stock gains were short-lived following reports that both California and Arizona had their biggest daily increases in virus cases.
June's employment figures far surpassed expectations with more than 4.8 million new jobs added, giving investors another sign that the economy is picking up steam. Heading into the Fourth of July weekend, the major markets were closed last Friday in observance of the holiday. Nevertheless, each of the benchmark indexes listed here enjoyed solid weekly returns. The Nasdaq, once again, led the way, gaining over 4.6%, followed by the S&P 500, which closed up by more than 4.0%. Treasury yields remained steady, while crude oil prices gained and the dollar fell slightly.
Crude oil prices rebounded last week, closing at $40.32 per barrel by late Thursday afternoon, up from the prior week's price of $38.10. The price of gold (COMEX) advanced for the third consecutive week, closing at $1,787.60 by late Thursday afternoon, up from the prior week's price of $1,784.10. The national average retail regular gasoline price was $2.174 per gallon on June 29, $0.045 higher than the prior week's price but $0.539 less than a year ago.