The old saying “sell in May and go away” comes to mind as the stock market kicked off the month with all three major U.S. indexes tanking 2.6% and worse, plus more in today’s Closing Bell on Money & Markets.
The Top Story
Many factors soured the mood on Wall Street to start off the month of May, but arguably the biggest hit came from U.S. President Donald Trump’s threat to hit China with more tariffs, restarting a trade war that sowed uncertainty throughout financial markets last year.
Trump’s administration is crafting a retaliation for the coronavirus outbreak that started in Wuhan, China, late last year only months after signing phase one of a new trade deal that seemed like a truce of sorts between the world’s two largest economies.
That was before the pandemic rocked economies around the world.
And it couldn’t be a worse time to revive a trade war as the global economy tries to rev up its engines and restart after massive lockdowns during the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“The last thing you want is (tariff) retaliation when the world economy looks like it’s headed into depression. The coronavirus has put everything out of whack, but the economy was already weakening due to the trade war,” Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities, said in a Reuters interview.
A disappointing earnings report from Amazon, which was part of a mixed bag of earnings overall, drove stocks lower as well.
Amazon warned it could face its first quarterly loss in five years as it plans to spend $4 billion on coronavirus-related expenses in Q2. Shares of the tech giant fell 7.6%.
Stock Market Update: Closing Bell*
S&P 500: 2,830 (-2.8%)
DOW: 23,723 (-2.6%)
NASDAQ: 8,604 (-3.2%)
GOLD: $1,707.50 (+0.8%)
BITCOIN: $8,745.01 (-0.5%)
U.S. 10-YEAR YIELD: 0.62% –0.001
*- as of 4:15 p.m.
A Big Win
In Friday’s Opening Bell we warned that Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) posted its first quarterly loss in 32 years. Shares of the oil giant plummeted 7%.
We also mentioned Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: APPL), whose stock fell 1.6% despite strong quarterly revenue and earnings. The company also pulled its guidance for Q3.
Gold regained some ground Friday after investors fled riskier assets following Trump’s threat of more tariff action against China.
Gold futures were up 0.8% to $1,707.70 per ounce by 4:25 p.m. Silver was also in the green trading 0.5% higher at $15.05 per ounce.
Other metals struggled in afternoon trading, though. Palladium futures were down 3.2% to $1,893.90, while platinum sank 4.3% to $778.40.
Cannabis companies across America didn’t let stay-at-home orders stop the 4/20 celebrations as dispensaries and other businesses took the party online to promote sales.
The lockdown didn’t seem to hurt some businesses with several reporting increased sales year over year through the use of delivery services.
Tesla Tanks After CEO Tweets Share Price Is too High
Shares of Tesla also tanked as much as 12% today after CEO Elon Musk said via tweet he thought the share price is “too high.”
Tesla stock price is too high imo
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 1, 2020
Tesla had reported a strong first quarter Wednesday, but even then the CEO used the earnings call as an opportunity to blast shelter-in-place orders he said were “forcibly imprisoning people in their homes against all their constitutional rights.”
Musk’s action on Twitter has landed him in hot water in the past after an August 2018 tweet about taking Tesla private triggered an investigation from the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The stock had recovered slightly, but still closed out the day down 10.3%.
Today’s Big Winners
Fortune Brands Home & Security Inc. (NYSE: FBHS) +6.9%
Clorox Co. (NYSE: CLX) +3.4%
Aon PLC (NYSE: AON) + 3.2%
Today’s Big Losers
Weyerhaeuser Co. (NYSE: WY) -17.9%
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: NCLH) -15.6%
Helmerich and Payne Inc. (NYSE: HP) -15%
Check back for the most important news and numbers each day after the Closing Bell, only on Money & Markets.