(RTTNews) – After a strong start and a subsequent retreat into the red, U.S. stocks kept climbing higher to eventually close on a high note on Friday.
The major averages all ended firmly in positive territory. The Dow ended up 260.01 points, or 1.11 percent, at 23,775.27, the S&P 500 rose 38.94 points, or 1.39 percent to 1,836.74 and the Nasdaq settled up 139.77 points, or 1.65 percent at 8,634.52.
However, the averages posted losses for the week. While the Dow and the S&P 500 shed 1.9% and 1.3%, respectively, the Nasdaq eased 0.2%.
Data showing a sharp fall in durable goods orders in the month of March, and the University of Michigan’s report showing a deterioration in consumer sentiment in April pulled the market down from early highs.
However, stocks climbed higher after President Donald Trump signed a $484 billion stimulus package that will replenish a fund for small-business lending and direct money to hospitals and efforts to ramp up U.S. testing capacity in the fight against COVID-19.
Another trigger for the market today was the sharp jump in crude oil prices. After suffering big losses during the earlier part of the week that send the futures contract plunging to sub-zero levels for the first ever time in history, oil prices posted strong gains on Wednesday and Thursday, and added more points in today’s session.
Investors were also digesting a slew of corporate earnings reports, including from American Express (AXP) and Verizon (VZ).
Data from the Commerce Department showed a 14.7 percent drop in new durable goods orders in the month of March. Orders had increased by a downwardly revised 1.1 percent in February. Economists had expected durable goods orders to fall 15 percent in March. The drop in orders in March was the steepest since August 2014.
A sharp 41 percent decline in demand for transportation equipment, due largely to a near 300 percent drop in orders for non-defense aircraft and parts, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, contributed to the fall in new durable goods orders.
Excluding transportation, new orders were down 0.2 percent, the report from the Commerce Department showed. Excluding defense, new orders fell 15.8 percent. Meanwhile, core capital goods orders, excluding aircraft and military hardware, edged up 0.1 percent in the month, the data showed.
Meanwhile, a report from the University of Michigan said its consumer sentiment for the US was revised higher to 71.8 in April of 2020 from a preliminary of 71. The score still remains the lowest since December 2011.
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