It was another volatile day in the stock market as investors mulled renewed trade tensions between the U.S. and China on top of ongoing uncertainty surrounding COVID-19, plus more in today’s Closing Bell on Money & Markets.

The Top Story

Volatility was once again the name of the game as positive coronavirus treatment news helped stocks recover from an early morning dive.

Sorrento Therapeutics Inc. (Nasdaq: SRNE) surged 158% after it revealed its experimental antibody candidate had blocked some COVID-19 infections in early clinical trials.

Sorrento’s rally pushed the Russell 2000 small-cap index up 1.3%, while also helping the Nasdaq Composite stay in the green.

But indexes were still waffling throughout the day after the Trump administration announced a plan to block semiconductor shipments to Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies.

Beijing did not sit back on the news, and announced it would place U.S. companies on its “unreliable entities list,” according to the Global Times, a Chinese news outlet.

The whole ordeal sparked fear that the phase one trade deal between the world’s two largest economies that was signed in January could fall apart, sending more uncertainty into an already uncertain market.

“While we don’t think that’s the base case, what could potentially happen is that rhetoric keeps up, and stocks don’t like that,” said Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist for LPL Financial.

By 3:11 p.m., the Dow Jones Industrial Average was 0.18% higher at 23,668 points. The S&P 500 rose 0.1%, and the Nasdaq composite was 0.42% higher.

Stock Market Update: Closing Bell*

S&P 500: 2,863 (+0.39%)
DOW: 23,685 (+0.25%)
NASDAQ: 9,014 (+0.79%)
GOLD: $1,752.70 (+0.67%)
BITCOIN: $9,351 (-3.6%)
U.S. 10-YEAR YIELD: 0.644% (+0.025)

*- as of 4:30 p.m.

A Big Win

In this morning’s Opening Bell, we highlighted Draftkings Inc. (Nasdaq: DKNG), which reported a 30% boost in first-quarter revenue thanks to wider sports betting legalization. Shares rose over 15.5%, but the next quarter could be problematic as most major sports leagues have been on hiatus because of the pandemic.

We also mentioned Chinese e-commerce company Inc. (Nasdaq: JD), whose sales surged in Q1 thanks to the COVID-19 lockdown. Shares rose 3.9%.

Golden Nuggets

Gold rose to its highest level in a month as investors fled to the safe-haven asset after Washington and Beijing stoked fears of a renewed trade war.

U.S. spot gold was trading 0.79% higher at $1,744.30 per ounce by 4:34 p.m. Gold futures were trading 0.71% higher.

“While subdued physical demand and central bank buying may have slowed its ascent, there’s very little reason to sell gold in a time of unprecedented public largesse and deteriorating relations between the world’s economic superpowers,” said Tai Wong, head of base and precious metals derivatives trading at BMO.

Other metals were soaring as well Friday afternoon. Silver futures were up a whopping 5.56% to $17.05 per ounce, while platinum futures gained 5.87% to $820.50 per ounce. Palladium was right there with other precious metals, trading 3.55% higher at $1,862.10 per ounce.

Cannabis Corner

Aurora Cannabis Inc. (NYSE: ACB) shares roared back to life Friday after the Canadian company posted sales that beat FactSet projections by 13%.

Aurora “began to show cost and cash flow improvements that give credence to the notion of positive EBITDA by the (September) quarter and positive cash flow by late FY21,” said the company’s earnings report.

The news sent the troubled cannabis producer’s stock to the moon, closing 69.4% higher.

Retail Sales Nosedive Record 16.4% in April as Consumers Stop Splurging

U.S. retail sales sank a record 16.4% in April as consumers pretty much stuck to grocery stores while most of the country is in lockdown due to the coronavirus outbreak.

“Net, net, consumers couldn’t get out to shop last month as the pandemic virus fight kept them at home, and the result is an economy that has simply collapsed,” said Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG Union Bank in an interview with CNBC.

It was a bad look for the economy that relies so heavily on consumer spending. Clothing stores were hurt the worst, losing 78.8% of sales as most were forced to close their doors.

Today’s Big Winners

S&P 500: Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (NYSE: RCL) +6.5%

Nasdaq: Zoom Video Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: ZM) +4.1%

Dow: Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) +2.9%

Today’s Big Losers

S&P 500: VF Corp. (NYSE: VFC) -6.3%

Nasdaq: Lam Research Corp. (Nasdaq: LRCX) -6.4%

Dow: Raytheon Technologies Corp. (NYSE: RTX) -2.1%

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