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Bob Carey
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  US Stock Markets Ended April 3, 2020
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After a sharp relief rally last week, stocks continued their downward spiral as coronavirus cases surpassed one million globally. The economic impact is taking its toll with 701,000 jobs lost in March. In addition, a record 6.6 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week. Additionally, the ISM non-manufacturing index, a measure of consumer strength, fell to 52.5, while the manufacturing gage fell below 50. Readings below 50 show signs of contraction. Energy stocks were one bright spot with WTI crude posting a record weekly gain of over 30%. President Trump is in the process of brokering a deal with Saudi Arabia and Russia to reduce global output by 10 million barrels a day. Energy stocks are still down nearly 50% for the year. The OPEC+ meeting this week will be closely followed by investors. By contrast, REITs remain one of the hardest-hit areas of the market as many tenants are delaying or skipping payments. In stock news, Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. noted a 15% decline in comparable sales after March 21st versus an initial surge of 26% in the previous three weeks of March. Shares of Carnival Corp. sunk further into the red, despite raising new capital, as some sailings were canceled through October. Microsoft Corp. moved higher for the week after reporting a 775% increase in cloud usage in areas with shelter-in-place orders. Looking ahead, the continued economic fallout from COVID-19 and the duration of the virus will be closely monitored by investors. In two weeks, investors will get a clearer picture of the economic impacts as money center banks and other large corporations begin to report quarterly results.
Posted on Monday, April 6, 2020 @ 8:47 AM • Post Link Share: 
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These posts were prepared by First Trust Advisors L.P., and reflect the current opinion of the authors. They are based upon sources and data believed to be accurate and reliable. Opinions and forward looking statements expressed are subject to change without notice. This information does not constitute a solicitation or an offer to buy or sell any security.
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