People who lost their jobs wait in line to file for unemployment following an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), at an Arkansas Workforce Center in Fort Smith, Arkansas, U.S. April 6, 2020.
Nick Oxford | Reuters
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11:55 am: Markets at midday: Stocks fall, still up sharply for the week
Around midday, the major averages were under pressure as investors took a breather following a blistering rally earlier in the week. The Dow was down nearly 100 points, or 0.4%, while the S&P 500 slid 0.7% along with the Nasdaq. The averages were still headed for strong weekly gains despite Thursday’s decline. —Imbert
11:31 am: Stocks hit session low, Dow briefly down 200 points
The major averages hit their session lows in late-morning trading, with the Dow briefly trading 200 points lower. Despite the steep losses, the major averages were still up more than 2% for the week. —Imbert
10:35 am: Tech reverses course, Microsoft and Amazon turn negative
The Nasdaq is now the relative underpeformer among the three major indexes, falling 0.6% as some of the megacap tech stocks gave up earlier gains to trade below the flat line. Facebook was still trading 2.3% higher, however. The S&P 500 was down 0.3%, while the Dow was roughly flat. —Pound
10:28 am: Manufacturing contraction continued into May, Markit survey shows
Manufacturing activity in the U.S. improved in May but remains muted amid lackluster demand that has led to steep job cuts, according to a closely watched gauge. The IHS Markit Flash U.S. Manufacturing PMI Index registered a 39.8 reading for the month, up from 36.1 in April and a shade better than the 39 that economists surveyed by Dow Jones had expected. Anything lower than a 50 represents a contraction for the index, which measures businesses seeing expansion vs. contraction.
“Encouragement comes from the survey indicating that the rate of economic collapse seems to have peaked in April. In the absence of a second wave of COVID-19 infections, the decline should moderate further in coming months as measures taken to contain the coronavirus are steadily lifted,” said Chris Williamson, chief business economist at HIS Markit.
Williamson added, though, that “a full recovery is unlikely to be swift.” The services index was 36.9, better than the 30 estimate. The composite reading was 36.4. The numbers are consistent with a Q2 GDP drop of 37%, Williamson said. –Cox
10:24 am: Here are Thursday’s biggest analyst calls of the day: Boeing, Royal Caribbean, Nvidia & more
- Stifel upgraded Lowe’s to buy from hold.
- RBC initiated Boeing as outperform.
- Morgan Stanley upgraded Avis Budget to equal weight from underweight.
- Credit Suisse initiated Royal Caribbean and Norwegian as outperform.
- Bank of America downgraded MGM to underperform from neutral.
- Citi raised its price target on Netflix to $450 from $350.
- Bank of America downgraded Charles Schwab to neutral from buy.
- UBS downgraded Square to sell from neutral.
- Credit Suisse reinstated Nvidia as outperform.
Pro subscribers can read more here. —Bloom
9:51 am: NYSE prepares for first all-virtual IPO
Later this morning the NYSE’s first all-virtual IPO will take place, when SelectQuote opens for trading. The company, which focuses on insurance products, raised $570 million after pricing at $20 per share, above the range of $17 to $19. The company is now valued at $3.25 billion, according to Reuters. Shares will trade under the ticker SLQT.
SelectQuote CEO Tim Danker will be on CNBC’s “Squawk Alley” at 11 am ET to discuss the company’s IPO. – Stevens
9:41 am: Stocks turn positive
A few minutes after the opening bell, stocks reversed losses and turned positive. The Dow was up about 50 points, while the S&P 500 rose 0.11%. The Nasdaq was the relative outperformer, last trading 0.2% higher. – Stevens
9:30 am: Stocks open little changed, Dow falls 42 points
Stocks started Thursday’s session modestly lower, as some of Wednesday’s optimism cooled. The Dow fell 42 points for a loss of 0.15%, while the S&P 500 shed 0.007%. The Nasdaq traded slightly higher. Weekly jobless claims totaled 2.4 million, which was still very high by historical standards, but marked the seventh straight week of a slowdown in the number of people filing for unemployment insurance. The number peaked at 6.9 million in late March. – Stevens
9:16 am: Oil jumps to highest level in more than two months
Oil prices moved higher on Thursday, accelerating recent gains as the Street continues to cheer growing demand as more and more producers cut output. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, gained 80 cents, or 2.4%, to trade at $34.33 per barrel, while international benchmark Brent crude rose $1.01 to $36.76 per barrel. Oil is on track for its fourth straight week of gains, although WTI is still roughly 50% below its January high of $65.65. “Oil prices rose on very clear indications that the global supply has been curtailed to a great degree,” Rystad Energy’s Paola Rodriguez Masiu said Thursday. “Many producers have curtailed production and, although painful for them, it really did have an effect on prices,” she added. – Stevens
9:00 am: Philadelphia Fed survey shows optimism for future
The May reading for the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing survey index came in at -43.1, a 13-point improvement from April’s record low but still the third straight negative reading. However, as Renaissance Macro pointed out on Twitter, the survey shows that managers expect the dip to be short-lived, with six-month expectations at their highest level in more than two years. — Pound
8:46 am: Rising U.S.-China tensions
Tensions between the U.S. and China escalated again recently over issues surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. The Trump administration has been ratcheting up the rhetoric on China. On Wednesday, President Donald Trump blasted China over the handling of the coronavirus in a tweet, saying that it was the “incompetence of China” that caused “this mass Worldwide killing.” Meanwhile, the Senate passed legislation that could ban many Chinese companies including Alibaba and Baidu from listing on U.S. exchanges. The bill would require companies to certify that they are not controlled by a foreign government. – Li
8:30 am: Jobless claims in-line with estimates
Initial jobless claims rose 2.438 million, compared with the 2.4 million analysts had been expecting. This represents the seventh straight week of a slowing pace following the peak of 6.9 million claims in late March. Additionally, a review brought the number from last week down substantially, from 2.98 million claims to 2.69 million. – Stevens, Cox
7:50 am: Best Buy falls after earnings report
Shares of Best Buy fell 2% in premarket trading after the electronics retailer reported its first quarter results. The company beat Wall Street estimates on the top and bottom lines, but it did not give future guidance. Comparable sales were down 5.3%, even though online sales in the United States increased by 155%. Sales of consumer electronics fell by more than 15%. — Pound
7:48 am: Global coronavirus cases top 5 million
Data compiled by Johns Hopkins University shows global coronavirus cases have topped 5 million. That grim milestone comes as several countries have started to ease lockdown measures. In the U.S. specifically, more than 1.5 million cases have been confirmed. Most of the worldwide new cases come from the Americas, with over 45,000 cases reported Tuesday in the U.S. — Imbert
7:41 am:Jobless claims numbers still likely to be big
Another 2.4 million Americans were expected to file claims for unemployment insurance last week, according to economists surveyed by Dow Jones. If accurate, that would bring the rolling nine-week total during the coronavirus pandemic to close to 39 million. The numbers have been steadily declining in recent weeks but still reflect what likely will be the worst unemployment crisis in U.S. history. – Cox
7:40 am: Stocks set for modest losses at the open
U.S. stock index futures pointed to slight losses at the open on Thursday, as the market awaits jobless claims data at 8:30 am ET. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was set to decline about 75 points at the opening bell, or 0.3%. The S&P 500 was also poised for a 0.3% loss, while the Nasdaq Composite was set to slide 0.2%. The move lower continues stocks’ push-and-pull this week, which saw markets jump on Monday, drop on Tuesday, and rise again on Wednesday. The S&P rose to its highest level since early March during Wednesday’s trading session as investors continue to cheer economies reopening. The benchmark index is now about 12% below its record high from Feb. 19. – Stevens
– CNBC’s Yun Li, Nate Rattner and Jeff Cox contributed reporting.
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