Stock prices bounced around last week as investors reacted to wild swings in the price of oil and reports that called into question the efficacy of two potential virus treatments.The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 1.93%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 lost 1.32%. The Nasdaq Composite Index slipped 0.18%. The MSCI EAFE Index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, declined 1.21%.
Oil Wavers, Promising Virus Treatments Disappoint
Stocks opened the new week lower on the heels of a plunge in oil prices that saw the May oil futures contract fall into negative territory. While negative prices were largely reflective of technical issues associated with trading the contracts rather than the actual price of oil, the unprecedented move unsettled investors.
Stocks found some positive momentum as the week wore on, buoyed by corporate earnings reports that showed solid performance amid a challenging environment.
On two separate days, however, solid moves to the upside were derailed by disappointing news on promising COVID-19 treatments. One drug failed to produce positive results in its first trial, followed the next day by an FDA warning against taking chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine to treat COVID-19. Stocks managed to rally and trim the week’s losses during the market’s final hours on Friday.
The Economic Reopening Begins
States across the nation, including Georgia, Tennessee, South Carolina, and Texas, have begun the process of slowly reopening commerce, while Montana’s governor announced the first phase of restarting its economy.
Each state is taking a different approach, potentially serving as a laboratory to help guide other states in their efforts to reopen businesses. From the market’s perspective, these early steps are not only hopeful signs that the journey to normalization may have begun, but they may provide important clues to how quickly business activity can rebound and the degree to which individuals resume social engagement – two important metrics that may influence the market in the weeks ahead.
THIS WEEK: KEY ECONOMIC DATA
Wednesday: Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) Meeting Announcement.
Thursday: Jobless Claims.
Friday: Purchasing Managers Index (PMI): Manufacturing Index. Institute for Supply Management (ISM) Manufacturing Index.
THIS WEEK: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS
Tuesday: Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), Ford Motor Company (F), Pfizer (PFE), Caterpillar (CAT), Starbucks (SBUX), Merck & Co. (MRK), United Parcel Service (UPS), D.R. Horton (DHI)
Wednesday: Microsoft (MSFT), Facebook (FB), Boeing (BA), Tesla (TSLA), Qualcomm (QCOM)
Thursday: Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), Visa (V), McDonald’s (MCD), Gilead Sciences (GILD)
Friday: Exxon Mobil (XOM), Chevron (CVX), Clorox (CLX), Abbvie (ABBV)