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Bob Carey
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  US Stock Markets Ended May 22, 2020
Posted Under: Weekly Market Commentary
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The S&P 500 Index returned 3.27% last week, gaining back the previous week's losses. The index is now down less than 7.8% year-to-date and is up over 32.5% since its closing low on March 23. Monday showed its best performance since early April, climbing 3.16% with strength seen in energy stocks as crude oil futures jumped 8.12%. Equity markets were boosted by reports of early positive results from Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine trial. Positive comments from both Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell and European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde implying their ability and willingness to adjust and respond to the current economic conditions reinforced the optimism. Building permits, housing starts, and existing home sales all reported double-digit month-over-month declines for April. U.S. initial jobless claims remain historically high, though last week's 2.44 million is the lowest weekly claims number reported since mid-March. Crude oil closed at $33.25 per barrel on Friday, increasing 12.98% for the week. Specialty apparel store company L Brands Inc. was the best performer in the S&P 500 Index, returning 38.86%. Though the company reported large first quarter losses last week, the stock rallied on news that the company was intent on separating its Victoria's Secret line into a standalone business and several analysts upgraded their price targets for the stock. United Airlines Holdings Inc. returned 27.51% as vaccine optimism helped lift some of the hard-hit airline industry stocks. Air travel demand has been shuttered by the coronavirus pandemic. Other top performing airline stocks included Alaska Air Group Inc., Southwest Airlines Company, and Delta Air Lines Inc. Medical device manufacturer Becton, Dickinson & Company returned -7.36% last week, after announcing it will raise $3 billion in common and preferred stock offerings. The stock took the bottom spot in the worst performing health care sector. Earnings announcements expected this week include salesforce.com Inc., Costco Wholesale Corp, Dollar General Corp, Autodesk Inc., AutoZone Inc., HP Inc., Keysight Technologies Inc., Ulta Beauty Inc., and many more.
Posted on Tuesday, May 26, 2020 @ 9:03 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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