US Stock Markets Ended August 21, 2020
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The S&P 500 Index returned 77 basis points last week delivering the fourth straight week of gains. The index pushed past its February 19th closing high twice this week for a new all-time closing high on Tuesday and higher again on Friday, closing at 3,397.16. The index is currently up 6.47% year-to-date. Wednesday marked the only negative trading day, as equities posted positive returns the other four days of the week with growth and larger stocks being favored overall. U.S. initial jobless claims of 1.11 million were higher than the consensus estimate of 920K and the previous week's claims of 963K, but still much lower than the March 27 high as claims have trended down since the peak. Crude oil closed at $42.34 per barrel on Friday, increasing 0.79% for the week. The information technology sector led the charge with big names like Apple Inc., NVIDIA Corp, Inc., and Adobe Inc. which returned 8.23%, 9.68%, 7.27%, and 5.94% respectively. Apple Inc. has made headlines recently due to their legal dispute with gaming software company Epic Games, but last Thursday's news concerning the company made history. Apple Inc. became the first US company to cross over a $2 trillion market cap, just two years after becoming the first to hit a $1 trillion market cap in early August 2018. The company's stellar performance last week contributed to the S&P 500 Index's new closing high as it holds the largest weight in the index. Consumer discretionary stocks also had great performance as Target Corp and L Brands Inc. posted the top spots in the index last week with 13.08% and 12.92% returns respectively. Both retailers reported better than expected second quarter results on Wednesday. Kohl's Corp was the worst performing stock in the S&P 500 Index, returning -19.23%. Last Tuesday, the company reported a smaller loss than expected for the second quarter, but sales declined 23% from the year prior. Earnings announcements expected this week include Inc., Intuit Inc., Autodesk Inc., Dollar General Corp, Best Buy Company Inc., Hormel Foods Corp, HP Inc., Dollar Tree Inc., Ulta Beauty Inc., and many others.
Posted on Monday, August 24, 2020 @ 8:14 AM

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.