The tech-heavy Nasdaq charged upward more than 1% early but all three major U.S. indexes suffered a late decline in what had been a relatively flat day until the final hour, plus more in today’s Closing Bell on Money & Markets.

The Top Story

The S&P 500 and Dow sank in the last hour after being flat most of the day, with gains in technology shares offsetting dips in financials and defensive groups as new data shows 20 million American workers have been laid off by private employers amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, gains in Microsoft Corporation (Nasdaq: MSFT), Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) helped keep the Nasdaq composite just above water.

“The leadership has come from stocks that benefit from stay-at-home economy,” said Jack Janasiewicz, portfolio strategist at Natixis Investment Managers. “For the most part, people are hedging their bets, increasing their exposure to companies such as Amazon and Microsoft.”

Beyond Meat was a big star for the Nasdaq today, rising 26% up to more than $126 a share.

The Dow fell 199 points, or 0.8%, to 23,683. The S&P 500 lost 0.7%, while the Nasdaq rose 0.5%.

Stock Market Update: Closing Bell*

S&P 500: 2,848 (-0.7%)
DOW: 23,683 (-0.8%)
NASDAQ: 8,854 (+0.5%)
GOLD: $1,691.93 (-1.1%)
BITCOIN: $9,236.01 (+3.8%)
U.S. 10-YEAR YIELD: 0.698% (+0.041)

*- as of 4:10 p.m.

A Big Win

This morning we mentioned to keep an eye on Activision Blizzard Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) after the video game company reported nearly doubling its quarterly earnings per share year over year. Revenues were down slightly but still much better than analyst projections, and the stock rose 6.3%.

We also told you to be on the lookout to see what Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) stock would do a day after reporting dismal quarterly earnings and announcing it would suspend its dividend for the time being due to all of its theme parks being shutdown amid the pandemic.

After a 3.7% spike this morning, Disney settled back down relatively flat for the day, losing 0.2%.

Golden Nuggets 

Gold fell more than 1% as the U.S. dollar rose alongside lockdown easing. Gold supplies are expected to grow as bullion refineries resume operations, putting an end to six weeks of closures.

Gold is still up about 11% for the year as economies around the world were largely shut down to combat the spread of COVID-19.

“It’s probably a combination of more supply coming in to the COMEX, and probably a little bit less interest as risk appetite is growing and the U.S. dollar rallies,” said Bart Melek, head of commodity strategies at TD Securities. Many countries like Italy, Germany and the United States are tentatively easing lockdowns.

Silver futures were largely flat today, falling 0.4% to $15.04 an ounce while copper rose 0.4% to $2.34. Platinum futures took a sizable hit, falling about 2.6% to $764.60, while palladium rose about 0.4% to $1,763.60.

Cannabis Corner

While the pandemic has put a bit of a damper on adult-use cannabis sales in most U.S. markets, sales in Washington state ticked to their highest level ever. According to Seattle-based Headset, recreational cannabis sales rose above $106 million for the month, a record for the state.

Meanwhile, adult-use cannabis sales in California also rose for the month of April, but the gain was marginal. Year-over-year sales declined for the second straight month in Colorado and Nevada.

Stocks Hold Steady With Fed’s Monetary Boost

Stocks have moved largely higher since late March after the coronavirus crash led to the fastest decline in history from all-time record highs set in mid-February. Since then, the three major U.S. indexes have ridden a wave of monetary and fiscal stimulus from the U.S. Federal Reserve.

Investors are now largely in a holding pattern, waiting to see how things shake out as states begin easing lockdown restrictions and look to reopen their economies. Whether people will go out and spend money remains a major question.

“States can declare themselves open all they want. If people aren’t comfortable going out of their houses, then they’re not going to do anything,” Delwiche said. “The evidence of activity resuming is as important as states declaring themselves open.”

Today’s Big Winners

Beyond Meat (Nasdaq: BYND) +26%

MacroGenics Inc. (Nasdaq: MGNX) +230.9%

General Motors Company (NYSE: GM) +3%

Today’s Big Losers

Occidental Petroleum Corp. (NYSE: OXY) -12.5%

Pinterest Inc. (NYSE: PINS) -14.8%

GrafTech International Ltd. (NYSE: EAF) -16%

Check back for the most important news and numbers each day after the Closing Bell, only on Money & Markets