Dow ends Friday on a high note as tech and financial stocks rally, but stock market snaps weekly win streak

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U.S stock indexes closed higher on Friday but logged weekly losses as investors digested economic data, mixed corporate results, and the latest economic aid package from Congress to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

How did benchmarks perform?

The Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, +1.10% ended up 260.01 points, or 1.1%, to 23,775.27. The S&P 500 index SPX, +1.39% added 38.94 points, or 1.4%, to close at 2,836.74, while the Nasdaq Composite Index COMP, 1.65% gained 139.77 points, or 1.7%, to finish at 8,634.52.

For the week, the Dow fell 1.9%, the S&P 500 declined 1.3% and the Nasdaq retreated 0.2%. The declines were the first losing week for the benchmarks of the past three weeks.

Meanwhile, the embattled small-cap Russell 2000 index RUT, +1.56% finished 1.6% higher on the session and booked a 0.3% weekly gain.

What drove the market?

Stocks ended a choppy week on a high note Friday as investors scooped up technology shares and picked over beleaguered financials—bullish signs after the week started with a historic fall in oil prices to unprecedented negative levels.

Tenuous signs of stability in the price of oil, have provided some support for equities, but doubts about the severity of the economic recession unfolding due to the COVID-19 pandemic leave investors worried about the durability of recent crude gains.

“Fridays tell us a lot about market sentiment,” wrote Steven Ricchiuto, U.S. chief economist at Mizuho Securities, in a client note. “When investors are worried about bad news coming over the weekend, when markets are closed, the Street is more comfortable being short than long,” he said.

“Alternatively, when markets are looking through to the longer-term, the weekend positioning matters less and what we see on Friday is the direction of sentiment,” he said.

Investors also were encouraged Friday by President Trump signing into law the much-awaited $484 billion coronavirus aid package that includes a second round of funding for small businesses under the Paycheck Protection Plan, or PPP.

The measure contains another $320 billion to help small businesses. It also has about $75 billion for hospitals, $25 billion for coronavirus testing and $60 billion for the Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.

However, investors also saw countries report mixed success in curbing the coronavirus pandemic, while Trump’s public statements raised some questions about his leadership in the crisis.

In economic data, U.S. orders for durable goods slumped 14.4% in March, the latest bleak reading to reflect the drop in activity due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which in the U.S. has claimed more than 50,000 lives.

“Looking ahead, we expect the coronavirus will deal a severe blow to U.S. business spending via suppressed global and domestic demand, broken supply chains, depressed oil prices, tighter financial conditions and elevated uncertainty,” wrote Lydia Boussour, senior U.S. economist at Oxford Economics, in a note following the data report. “This will translate into some of the largest pullbacks in capital spending of all time.”

Meanwhile, a final reading on consumer sentiment from the University of Michigan for April came in at 71.8 from 89.1 in March.

Read:Crashing oil prices saw his fund return 34%, now he warns ‘extreme weakness’ may be in store the next 4 to 6 weeks

Which stocks were in focus?
How did other markets trade?

Oil futures booked a third gain in a row after their recent plunge, but ended down sharply for the week. West Texas Intermediate crude for June delivery CL.1, 3.39% gained 44 cents, or 2.7%, to settle at $16.94 a barrel, but the most-active contract notched a weekly drop of 32%, its worst weekly fall on record based on the most-active contract.

Gold futures ended lower, after giving up early gains Friday, with the June contract GCM20, 0.00% closing 0.6% lower, or $9.80, to settle at $1,735.60 an once, while still booking a 2% weekly gain.

European equities fell, with the Stoxx Europe 600 SXXP, -1.09% down 1.1%, and the FTSE 100 UKX, -1.27% retreated 1.3%.

The U.S. dollar DXY, -0.23% was down 0.1% against a basket of currency trading partners, as measured by the U.S. Dollar Index.

Overnight in Asia, Japan’s Nikkei NIK, -0.86% fell 0.9%. The Hong Kong Hang Seng HSI, -0.60% closed about 0.6% lower, China’s Shanghai Composite Index SHCOMP, -1.05% declined 1.1%, while the CSI 300 Index 000300, -0.85% dropped 0.9%.

Originally Published on MarketWatch

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