Investors will be focusing on US stocks today, ahead of economic reports scheduled for later in the day.
Context: US stocks closed lower on Thursday, but still finished the month on a higher note. Mixed earnings reports from major companies and downbeat economic data weighed on investor sentiment in yesterday’s session.
Details: The Dow closed April on a strong note, rising 11.1% in the month. This represents the Dow’s best performance for the month of April since 1938. The Nasdaq 100 also recorded a monthly gain of 15.5%, registering its best April performance in history.
The US reported disappointing economic data on Thursday, reflecting the negative impact of coronavirus on the economy. The Labor Department disclosed that around 3.8 million jobless benefits were filed for the first time last week. The latest numbers took the initial jobless claims tally to over 30 million since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Personal income also declined sharply in March, with workers receiving lower compensation from their employers. Income fell 2% last month, while consumer spending plunged 7.5% as people stayed at their homes.
In earnings news, McDonald’s reported downbeat profits for the first quarter, while sales topped views. Shares of Twitter plunged around 8% on Thursday, despite the social-media company exceeding first-quarter estimates. eBay’s shares rose over 2% after the online retailer reported higher-than-expected profits.
The Dow fell 1.17% to close at 24,345.72 on Thursday, while the S&P 500 index slipped 0.92% to settle at 2,912.43. The Nasdaq 100 index lost 0.28% to finish at 8,889.55.
In commodities news, WTI crude for June delivery gained 25.1% to settle at $18.84 per barrel, while gold for June delivery fell 1.1% to finish at $1,694.20 an ounce.
What to watch: Investors continue to assess the daily coronavirus numbers, with the total number of cases exceeding 3,259,160 globally. The number of positive COVID-19 cases in the US has surpassed 1,070,030 with around 63,010 deaths.
Markets await a basket of economic reports from the US, including manufacturing PMI, construction spending and ISM manufacturing index. The IHS Markit manufacturing PMI is expected to decline to 36.9 in April, from a reading of 48.5 in March. Construction spending, which fell 1.3% to an annual rate of $1.367 trillion in February, is projected to drop 3.5% in March. Analysts expect the ISM manufacturing index to fall to 36.9 in April, from 49.1 in March.
Other Markets: European indices were trading lower at 9:00am GMT, with the FTSE 100, German 30 and French 40 down by 2.4%, 2.2% and 2.1%, respectively.