Wall Street’s three main indexes rose early in the day, only to cut gains after a report surfaced that a potential COVID-19 treatment flopped in a clinical trial, plus more in today’s Closing Bell on Money & Markets.
The Top Story
Stocks appeared to be on track for a solid day of gains before a report from the Financial Times surfaced that Gilead Sciences Inc.’s (Nasdaq: GILD) experimental antiviral drug for the coronavirus had failed in a randomized clinical trial.
The news caused indexes to cut earlier gains by nearly half before the three major indexes finished relatively flat.
Investors were encouraged by data that showed weekly U.S. jobless claims fell to 4.43 million from a revised 5.24 million. However, the numbers were still staggering, taking the total in the past five weeks to a record 26 million, wiping out all the jobs created since the Great Recession — at least temporarily.
“The decline in initial jobless claims is encouraging, but the damage has already been done with the insured unemployment rate surging to a record high in the (previous) week,” chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics Paul Ashworth said.
U.S. stock indexes have rallied this month on a raft of global stimulus, but the benchmark S&P 500 remains more than 15% below its record high as worsening economic indicators foreshadow a deep global recession.
A survey showed U.S. business activity plumbed new record lows in April, mirroring dire figures from Europe and Asia as strict stay-at-home orders crushed production, supply chains and consumer spending.
Stock Market Update: Closing Bell*
S&P 500: 2,797 (-0.05)
DOW: 23,515 (+0.17%)
NASDAQ: 8,494 (-0.01%)
GOLD: $1,751.20 (+0.7421%)
BITCOIN: $7,544.20 (+5.86%)
U.S. 10-YEAR YIELD: 0.597% (-0.022)
*- as of 3:15 p.m.
A Big Win
In this morning’s Opening Bell, we told you to watch for Snap Inc. (NYSE: SNAP) as investor sentiment appears to have cooled on the social media company. The stock experienced a massive 36% jump on Wednesday, only to experience a 4.2% drop in afternoon trading today.
After dropping in premarket trading, Gap Inc. (NYSE: GPS) shares continued to fall during the day. The company recently said it was suspending its rent payments and negotiating with landlords to defer and abate rents as its stores remain closed. Shares of Gap were down 0.3%.
Precious metals moved higher as crude oil prices rebounded and metal market bulls are coming off the sidelines to buy.
Gold futures were 0.3% higher to trade at $1,773 an ounce. Earlier in the day, spot gold jumped to a one-week high at $1,722 per ounce. Silver futures were off 0.3% to $15.29 an ounce.
Platinum was up 2.5% to $784 an ounce, while palladium was 3.6% higher at $1,960 an ounce.
A pair of House members have introduced a bill allowing state-legal cannabis companies to qualify for COVID-19 relief programs.
Marijuana companies were shut out of the first round of coronavirus stimulus money as the Small Business Administration bars the lending of any funds to direct or indirect cannabis operations, according to Marijuana Business Daily.
The standalone measure may have support in the House, but will likely stall in the Republican-controlled Senate.
SBA Issues New Guidance on Stimulus Funding
It will be harder for large, publicly traded companies to receive funding from the government’s latest round of small business relief.
The Small Business Administration issued guidance on Thursday that stipulates the loans as a necessity and that companies don’t have access to any other streams of money. Public companies can issue new shares in the market to generate capital.
If the House approves a deal, the Paycheck Protection Program will be infused with an additional $310 billion. The initial $350 billion was tapped out last week.
The SBA also said any public company that received funds in the first round can return them in two weeks to avoid any scrutiny by the agency.
Today’s Big Winners:
(as of 3:15 p.m. EDT)
Apache Corp. (NYSE: APA) +14%
Wynn Resorts Ltd. (Nasdaq: WYNN) +8.4%
UnitedHealth Group Inc. (NYSE: UNH) +4%
Today’s Big Losers:
(as of 3:15 p.m. EDT)
Invesco Ltd. (NYSE: IVZ) -20.5%
Citrix Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CTXS) -6%
McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD) -2%
Check back for the most important news and numbers each day after the Closing Bell, only on Money & Markets.