In this week’s recap: The White House makes plans to reopen the economy, as analysts examine the first-hard economic data reckoning the U.S. reaction to COVID-19.
Weekly Economic Update
THE WEEK ON WALL STREET
Stock prices pushed higher last week as news of a White House plan to reopen the economy and reports of a potential COVID-19 treatment helped the market overcome weak economic data and an ugly start to the corporate earnings season.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.21%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 advanced 3.04%. The Nasdaq Composite Index gained 6.09% for the week. The MSCI EAFE Index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, slumped 1.75%.1,2,3
Until last week, the extent of the economic damage from COVID-19 lacked a lot of hard data. With the release of retail sales (down 8.7% for March), industrial production (down 5.4% in March), and new jobless claims of 5.2 million (bringing the four-week total to 22 million), the scope of economic trouble became clearer.4,5,6
Stocks wavered throughout the week as investors digested the economic data and balanced the reports against signs that the pandemic may have peaked. With news of a plan to restart the economy and promising test results of a COVID-19 treatment, market sentiment turned positive, sending stocks higher on the final day of trading and cementing the second consecutive week of gains.
Large banks kicked off the quarterly earnings season, reporting declines in profits as they hiked loan loss reserves and saw a contraction in consumer credit card use. The large loan loss reserves represent a sobering view on just how much the banks believe small businesses and consumers may be affected by the economic downturn.
With bank earnings reports, investors got an important – but limited – view of the state of the economy. This week’s earnings reports are expected to provide a much broader cross-section of the economy, with a number of consumer products, technology, industrial, transportation, and communication services companies reporting.
THE WEEK AHEAD: KEY ECONOMIC DATA
- Tuesday: Existing Home Sales.
- Thursday: New Home Sales. Jobless Claims.
- Friday: Durable Goods Orders. Consumer Sentiment.
Source: Econoday, April 17, 2020
The Econoday economic calendar lists upcoming U.S. economic data releases (including key economic indicators), Federal Reserve policy meetings, and speaking engagements of Federal Reserve officials. The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The forecasts or forward-looking statements are based on assumptions and may not materialize. The forecasts also are subject to revision.
THE WEEK AHEAD: COMPANIES REPORTING EARNINGS
- Monday: IBM (IBM), Halliburton (HAL)
- Tuesday: Netflix (NFLX), Procter & Gamble (PG), Coca-Cola (KO), United Airlines (UA)
- Wednesday: Facebook (FB), AT&T (T), Boeing (BA), Tesla (TSLA), Visa (V)
- Thursday: Amazon (AMZN), Intel (INTC), Starbucks (SBUX), 3M Company (MMM), Southwest Airlines (LUV)
- Friday: Verizon (VZ), American Airlines (AAL), American Express (AXP)
Source: Zacks, April 17, 2020
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1 – The Wall Street Journal, April 17, 2020.
2 – The Wall Street Journal, April 17, 2020.
3 – The Wall Street Journal, April 17, 2020.
4 – The Wall Street Journal, April 15, 2020.
5 – MarketWatch, April 15, 2020.
6 – The Wall Street Journal, April 16, 2020.
The Wall Street Journal, April 17, 2020.
The Wall Street Journal, April 17, 2020.
Treasury.gov, April 17, 2020.