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Tags: Coronavirus | wall street | stock | market | dow | financial | virus

Tech Titans Apple, Microsoft Push Wall Street Higher

Tech Titans Apple, Microsoft Push Wall Street Higher

(Pavel Petrov | Dreamstime.com)

Friday, 24 April 2020 04:05 PM

Wall Street rallied on Friday, led higher by Apple and Microsoft as investors finished a turbulent week of trading and some states prepared to relax coronavirus-related lockdowns.

Apple and Microsoft each climbed more than 1%, lifting the S&P 500 more than any other companies. The two tech titans are on tap to report their March-quarter results next week, giving investors a glimpse at how the pandemic has affected their global businesses.

Boeing Co tumbled more than 6% after a report the planemaker was planning to cut 787 Dreamliner output by about half.

All of the 11 S&P 500 sector indexes moved up, with information technology jumping 2.1% and materials rallying 1.5%.

Even with Friday's gains, the S&P 500 ended the week lower, with investors fearful of a deep economic slump following a near-crash in April business activity and weekly jobless claims topping 26 million in five weeks.

The index has recovered more than 25% from its March low and expectations are growing that more businesses will be allowed to reopen as coronavirus infections showed signs of peaking.

Georgia became the first state to push ahead with its plan to allow an array of small businesses to reopen on Friday despite disapproval from President Donald Trump and health experts.

Investors may be overestimating how quickly U.S. businesses can go back to normal, and the S&P 500 could fall 5% or more as it becomes evident that resuming normal economic activity may not happen for months, warned Eric Freedman, chief investment officer at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in North Carolina.

"We think this is likely to be a little bit of a sideways market, and we won't be surprised to see a bit of downside before we see more upside," Freedman said.

Overall, analysts still expect a 15% decline in S&P 500 first-quarter earnings, with profits for the energy sector estimated to slump more than 60%, raising fears of debt defaults, layoffs and possible bankruptcies.

New orders for key U.S.-made capital goods unexpectedly rose in March, but the gains are not likely to be sustainable amid the pandemic, which has abruptly shut down the economy and contributed to a collapse in crude oil prices.

The CBOE volatility index, known as Wall Street's fear gauge, was down for the third straight session.

Amazon rose 0.4% to a record high close ahead of its quarterly report on Thursday. With online shopping booming as people avoid traditional stores, Amazon's stock market value has ballooned by over $100 billion since Feb. 19, just before coronavirus fears gripped Wall Street.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 260.01 points, or 1.1%, to 23,775.27, the S&P 500 gained 38.94 points, or 1.39%, to 2,836.74 and the Nasdaq Composite added 139.77 points, or 1.65%, to 8,634.52.

For the week, the S&P 500 fell 1.3%, the Dow lost 1.9% and the Nasdaq lost 0.2%.

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.65-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.00-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted one new 52-week high and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 35 new highs and 14 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 10.2 billion shares, compared with a 12.5 billion-share average over the last 20 trading days. 


Global equity benchmarks struggled as some U.S. states began reopening businesses despite the disapproval of health experts, and as the European Union put off addressing details of its new economic rescue plan.

Safe-haven government bonds edged up while the dollar slipped, reflecting the market's unsettled direction. Oil's recovery lost some steam during the day.

MSCI's All Country World Index rose 0.45% as losses in Europe weighed on U.S. equity gains. The index is on pace for its worst weekly performance since March.

Investors are watching for health data from early-opening states to learn if they acted too quickly, said Stan Shipley, macro research analyst for Evercore ISI.

"The market is kind of stuck here," Shipley said. "I don't think it will move far from here until we see that we can reopen the economy."

As the U.S. coronavirus death toll topped 50,000, Georgia pushed ahead with its plan to become the first state to allow an array of small businesses to reopen on Friday despite the disapproval of President Donald Trump and health experts.

EU leaders agreed on Thursday to build a trillion-euro emergency fund to help recover from the coronavirus outbreak, while leaving divisive details until the summer.

French President Emmanuel Macron said differences continued between EU governments over whether the fund should be transferring grant money, or simply making loans.

"The risk exists that a concrete decision on the creation of the recovery fund may not occur before September, thereby not being operational before early 2021," Goldman Sachs European economist Alain Durre wrote in a note.

The pan-European STOXX 600 index lost 1.10%.

Investors remained in perceived safe-haven government bonds. Benchmark 10-year notes last rose 6/32 in price to yield 0.5914%, from 0.611% on Thursday.

The dollar index fell 0.269%, but the euro rose 0.34% to $1.0813.

The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday passed a $484 billion bill to expand federal loans to small businesses and hospitals overwhelmed by patients.

Trump, who signed the bill into law on Friday, said late Thursday he may need to extend social distancing guidelines to early summer.

Oil prices lost momentum during the day but broadly retained their recovery from this week's price collapse, which pushed U.S. crude futures into negative territory for the first time ever. Prices were supported by producers such as Kuwait saying they would move to cut output.

U.S. crude, which had been up as much as 5% on Friday, was up 3.52% at $17.08 per barrel and Brent was at $21.84, up 2.39% on the day.

© 2021 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Wall Street rallied on Friday, led higher by Apple and Microsoft as investors finished a turbulent week of trading and some states prepared to relax coronavirus-related lockdowns.
wall street, stock, market, dow, financial, virus
Friday, 24 April 2020 04:05 PM
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