U.S. Stocks Post Best Month Since ‘87, End on Loss: Markets Wrap
A trader talks on the phone while working on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg)

U.S. Stocks Post Best Month Since ‘87, End on Loss: Markets Wrap

(Bloomberg) -- U.S. stocks ended their best month in three decades on a slightly sour note, slumping amid dismal economic data and corporate results that reflected the coronavirus’s toll.

The S&P 500 Index fell from a seven-week high as the U.S. reported a larger-than-expected jump in unemployment claims, with about four stocks lower for every one in the green. Strong results from Microsoft Corp., Facebook Inc. and Tesla Inc. limited losses on the tech-heavy Nasdaq gauges. Crude rose for a second day on signs fuel consumption is starting to recover in the world’s biggest economies.

Still, the S&P 500 posted its biggest monthly gain since 1987, climbing 13% amid speculation that damage from the coronavirus may be short lived.

After the close of cash trading, investors watched megacap tech earnings, with Amazon.com sinking after it warned of a possible second-quarter loss. Apple gained after saying quarterly revenue grew 1% in the midst of the global Covid-19 pandemic.

U.S. Stocks Post Best Month Since ‘87, End on Loss: Markets Wrap

Investors continue to weigh a brutal economic picture against hopes for a coronavirus treatment and an eventual end to lockdown measures across the world. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Stephen Hahn said the agency is moving at “lightning speed” to review data on Gilead Sciences’ experimental Covid-19 treatment. But earnings reports from tech giants show some parts of the economy have remained resilient.

“It’s encouraging you’re seeing big tech earnings come in strong, but there’s still challenges,” said Brian Price, head of investment management for Commonwealth Financial Network.“There’s going to be a push-pull in the market for the foreseeable future.”

The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fell amid a barrage of bad economic readings and after European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said the euro-area economy could shrink 12% this year. The ECB intensified its response to the coronavirus crisis and the Federal Reserve said it planned to expand its Main Street Lending Program.

Twitter Inc. slumped after reporting a drop in sales. Kraft Heinz Inc. fell as it said 2020 guidance remains uncertain. Royal Dutch Shell shares slipped after the firm cut its dividend for the first time since World War II.

U.S. Stocks Post Best Month Since ‘87, End on Loss: Markets Wrap

Elsewhere, Japanese and Chinese equities rose over 1% as their Australian peers jumped more than 2%. Hong Kong and South Korea were shut for a holiday. Emerging-market stocks jumped.

These are the main moves in markets:

Stocks

  • The S&P 500 Index dropped 0.9% at the close of trade in New York.
  • The Stoxx Europe 600 Index decreased 2%.
  • The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.8%.
  • The MSCI Emerging Market Index gained 0.4%.

Currencies

  • The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.1%.
  • The euro rose 0.7% to $1.0955.
  • The British pound rose 1% to $1.2591.
  • The Japanese yen fell 0.6% to 107.34 per dollar.

Bonds

  • The yield on 10-year Treasuries rose one basis point to 0.64%.
  • Germany’s 10-year yield sank nine basis points to -0.59%.
  • Britain’s 10-year yield declined five basis points to 0.23%.

Commodities

  • West Texas Intermediate crude gained 26% to $18.99 a barrel.
  • Gold weakened 1.5% to $1,687.82 an ounce.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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