Reuters / Andrew Burton
- Major US stock indexes slipped on Friday as coronavirus infections in the US increased to outnumber those in China.
- Investors also further digested dire jobless-claims data and awaited President Donald Trump’s signature on a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill.
- The decline ended a three-day rebound for US equities, the first such streak of gains since mid-February.
- The Dow Jones industrial average had been fresh off a 21% spike over just three days, pushing it back into bull-market territory after a respite.
- Watch all major indexes update live here.
Stocks plunged on Friday as coronavirus infections in the US increased to outnumber those in China for the first time.
Investors also further digested dire jobless-claims data and awaited President Donald Trump’s signature on a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill. The decline ended a three-day rebound for US equities, the first such streak of gains since mid-February.
The relief rally “was a fierce one” and likely a result of much of the market being oversold, Liz Ann Sonders, the chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab, told Markets Insider in an interview. Investors need “some sort of catalyst” before prices stabilize and trend higher, she added, “whether it’s a peak in the cases” or a flattening of the infection curve.
“The virus is going to define when, maybe, we could get a sense that the worst is behind us,” Sonders said.
Here’s where the major US indexes stood at the market close on Friday:
- S&P 500: 2,541.47, down 3.4%
- Dow Jones industrial average: 21,636.78, down 4.1% (915 points)
- Nasdaq composite: 7,502.38, down 3.8%
Read more: ‘The worst bear market of our lifetime’: A Wall Street investment chief who predicted the recession warns stocks may fall 64% before the dust settles — and lays out 3 trades set to profit from the coronavirus crash
The Dow Jones industrial average had been fresh off a 21% spike over three days, pushing it back into bull-market territory after a respite.
The strong week for stocks came amid optimism about the $2 trillion stimulus bill, which the House finally passed on Friday. The legislation calls for direct payments of $1,200 to many Americans, bolstered unemployment benefits, and hundreds of billions of dollars in loans for struggling businesses.
Brent crude oil traded lower on Friday as the global price war raged on. Gold fell 1.7%, holding on to gains made earlier in the week. The precious metal skyrocketed in Monday’s and Tuesday’s sessions after Goldman Sachs recommended clients buy the haven amid the growing market panic.
The prolonged equities slump lacks a traditional driver of recovery and could last longer because of it, Sonders said. Low stock prices serve as a buying opportunity for those willing to brave near-term volatility, but a lack of company-specific data about the outbreak’s effects is keeping crucial buyers out of the market, Sonders said.
“In any kind of bear market or crash, value buyers eventually start to step in. The problem is valuation analysis is completely pointless right now because there is no visibility for earnings,” she said. “It’s like a moving target completely on the downside … Everyone’s flying blind.”
Now read more markets coverage from Markets Insider and Business Insider: