US Equity Markets dropped last week as volatility in the energy markets combined with negative reports on a hoped-for COVID-19 therapeutic to weigh modestly on markets. The S&P 500 fell 1.3% for the week to bring its losses for the year to 12.2%. The Nasdaq outperformed again, only down 0.2% for the week, and is now down 3.8% for the year, while the Russell 2000 (small-cap stocks) rose slightly, up 0.3% for the week, though it remains down 26.1% for the year.
Global equity markets also declined last week, as oil price volatility and concerns about ongoing coronavirus impacts hurt markets. Developed Markets dropped 1.9% for the week and have now declined 22.0% for the year. Emerging Markets fell 2.4% for the week to bring its losses to 21.1% for the year.
US economic data remained very poor last week. Another 4.4 million people filed unemployment claims for the prior week, bringing the 5-week total of those filing for unemployment claims to over 26 million. Durable Orders for March dropped 14.4%, and New/Existing Home Sales for March came in below expectations. Interestingly, measures of consumer sentiment for April came in better than expected, with upticks in both current economic conditions and a slight improvement in consumer expectations.
Of Interest to Us
Oil prices collapsed early last week, with the price of the May WTI futures contract falling to -$37.63/barrel before expiring at $10.01. This is the first time that oil has fallen below zero, which was due to a lack of storage and concerns about a lack of demand. The June contract closed the week at $17.18/barrel. Interestingly, while energy remains the worst performing sector in the equity markets this year, energy stocks were the only sector of the market to close higher last week, with no energy stocks hitting new 52-week lows.
for the week ending 4/24/2020
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