Economic Update

Market Month: April 2020

The Markets (as of market close April 30, 2020)

April began on a sour note for stocks as each of the indexes listed here lost value. Economic reports reflected the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. There were more than 700,000 jobs lost in March while total claims for unemployment insurance benefits soared to nearly 18 million. A cut in production didn’t prevent crude oil prices from hitting negative numbers as demand waned and storage neared full capacity. Purchasing managers saw manufacturing hit lows not seen in more than ten years.

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Market Week: April 27, 2020

The Markets (as of market close April 24, 2020)

The week started with stock indexes falling sharply on the heels of an historic plunge of crude oil into negative territory. The Dow dropped nearly 600 points and more than 2.4% by Monday’s close. Minimal demand sent the prices for crude oil (CL=F) to -22.02 per barrel — down 222.06%.

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Market Week: April 20, 2020

The Markets (as of market close April 17, 2020)

Last weekend, Russia, Saudi Arabia, and other major oil-producing countries agreed to slash production as oil prices had fallen about 50% from their January peak. Lack of demand, primarily due to COVID-19, has sent oil prices tumbling. The stock market started out slowly on Monday but picked up some steam to pare losses. Of the major benchmark indexes listed here, only the Nasdaq closed the day up. Investors seemed to worry about what the pandemic would do to corporate earnings and shunned stocks for other investments, such as gold, which rose to its highest price in more than seven years.

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Market Week: April 13, 2020

The Markets (as of market close April 9, 2020)

In observance of Good Friday, the stock market closed for business at the final bell last Thursday. The week started out with a bang as stocks soared in value on Monday with each of the benchmark indexes posting sizable gains. Investors were buoyed by the latest data, which showed that the spread of COVID-19 may be slowing in New York, the epicenter of the pandemic in the United States. The Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq enjoyed the largest single-day gains since March 24. Unfortunately, the gains were given back on Tuesday as investors wondered whether the virus was actually slowing. Oil prices sank and bond prices dropped, pushing yields higher.

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Market Week: April 6, 2020

The Markets (as of market close April 3, 2020)

Stocks continued to rally at the beginning of last week amid hopes of enhanced testing for COVID-19. But by the end of the day Wednesday stocks slid, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq posting their largest single-day declines since March 18. Energy shares in particular were hit hard. The Dow fell 4.4% and the small caps of the Russell 2000 continued to collapse, dropping over 7.0% on Wednesday. Economically, the virus is overwhelming the job market, as the number of unemployment insurance claims broke records for the second consecutive week.

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Quarterly Market Review: January-March 2020

The Markets (first quarter through March 31, 2020)

The world’s economies and stock markets have been rocked by the spread of COVID-19. Investors’ fears prompted a major sell-off in February and March, plunging stocks well below their 2019 closing marks. Nevertheless, 2020 started off in a positive way. Following a strong 2019, stocks were slow to move forward as investors cashed in some of their 2019 gains. But by mid-January, each of the benchmark indexes were safely ahead of their 2019 closing marks. However, concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak in China quelled investor optimism. By the end of January, only the small caps of the Nasdaq remained ahead of their prior year’s pace, as each of the remaining indexes listed here fell into the red.

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Market Week: March 30, 2020

The Markets (as of market close March 27, 2020)

Stocks opened the week as they closed the previous one — in a tailspin. However, aggressive moves by the Federal Reserve late in the day, coupled with the hope of a massive aid package from Congress, helped push stocks higher during early trading Tuesday.

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Market Month: February 2020

The Markets (as of market close February 28, 2020)

With a growing number of countries reporting new cases of the coronavirus, the obvious spread of this dreaded virus prompted a massive panic sell-off, the likes of which haven’t been seen since 2008. Investors’ fears of widespread economic tumult caused by the coronavirus were too much to ignore, despite last Friday’s statement from Fed chairman Jerome Powell that the central bank was prepared to cut rates if necessary when it meets in March. Crude oil prices fell by over $6 per barrel since the end of January. The 10-year Treasury note fell to a record low as money flowed into long-term bonds, pushing prices higher and yields lower.

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Market Month: January 2020

The Markets (as of market close January 31, 2020)

January was full of ups and downs as investors rode a wave of uncertainty. The month began with many of the benchmark indexes listed here losing value (except for the Nasdaq) only to surge ahead during the middle of the month. However, fears that a widespread outbreak of the coronavirus would impact global economic growth pushed investors away from stocks, which lost significant value by the end of the month.

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Market Month: December 2019

Annual Market Review 2019

The year began with the government stymied by a shutdown, and ended with articles of impeachment levied against the president. In between, both domestic and global economies showed signs of slowing, all while the trade war between the United States and China loomed throughout the year. Nevertheless, investors remained relatively bullish toward stocks, pushing several major indexes to record highs.

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