Investors will be focusing on US stocks today, with markets closing another volatile week.
Context: US stocks closed lower on Friday, following a strong rise in deaths from coronavirus in New York and investor concerns related to a hugely disappointing payrolls report. The White House offered a glimmer of hope, however, over the spread of COVID-19 stabilising.
Details: Wall Street recorded its third weekly drop in the last four weeks, with the Dow losing 2.7% last week. On Friday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo reported 562 additional deaths in 24 hours to record the highest single day rise in the coronavirus death toll till date. Cuomo also noted that there were more than 100,000 confirmed cases in the state.
Meanwhile, economic data bore equally bad news. US payrolls dropped a massive 701,000 in March, with the unemployment rate spiking to 4.4%. Thursday’s report also showed a surge in jobless claims by a record 6.6 million in the latest week.
The Dow tumbled 361 points to close at 21,053 on Friday, while the S&P 500 fell 1.51% to 2,489 and the Nasdaq 100 slipped 1.53% to end at 7,373.
American Express, IBM and UnitedHealth were the worst performers in the Dow index, tumbling more than 3% each on Friday. However, Walmart bucked the trend to close 0.7% higher after reporting 20% growth in sales in March.
President Donald Trump offered some hope to investors during his Sunday news briefing, while also cautioning on the toughest days and weeks ahead for the country. He said, “The U.S. will reach a horrific point in terms of death, but it will be a point where things will start changing for the better.” Coronavirus cases in the US have exceeded 337,600, with around 9,640 deaths.
What to watch: US stock futures are pointing towards a higher start on Wall Street today. Investors are hoping for a decline in coronavirus deaths and cases so that the economy can get back on track. The US economic calendar is light today, with only consumer inflation expectations report for March scheduled to be announced.
Other Markets: European markets were trading higher at 9:00am GMT, with the FTSE 100, German 30 and French 40 up 3.2%, 4.2% and 3.5%, respectively.