The Dow Jones Industrial Average rallied strongly on Friday, as positive retail sales and vaccine news lifted stocks.
The Dow Jones jumped 240 points on Friday, as strong U.S. retail sales sparked risk-on sentiment, while Pfizer is hoping to have its vaccine ready for emergency use by November.
All three major U.S. stock market indices rose on Friday, with the Dow Jones leading the way. The Nasdaq was less buoyant with a 0.3% gain, and the S&P 500 rallied 0.5%.
U.S. economic data were mostly positive to close the week, as Michigan consumer sentiment beat forecasts and retail sales comfortably beat expectations with a 1.9% jump. Strong retail sales data highlight the success of previous rounds of fiscal stimulus in aiding households impacted by the pandemic.
Unfortunately, with an urgently needed aid package not yet agreed upon in Congress, the recent data could mark a temporary peak in the recovery. Economist James Knightley at ING is not confident that such impressive retail stats can persist as job losses mount:
There will be more challenges for retailers as the employment picture seems to be softening. High-frequency Homebase employment data is flat-lining while yesterday’s weekly initial claims data moving up towards 900,000 underscores the strains that continue in the jobs market. This suggests we are likely to see only a limited rise in October payrolls with some forecasters foreseeing the possibility of an outright fall.
As Europe deals with a second wave of coronavirus cases, the United States is also dealing with a spike, and all signs point to a tough winter. This makes ING’s outlook on the jobs market, particularly worrying for the Dow bulls.
Some good news is that Pfizer is optimistically planning to have its vaccine ready for emergency use, possibly as early as November.
Watch the video below to see IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva’s take on U.S. stimulus talks.
While the last presidential debate did impact the Dow Jones, the town-hall arrangement was less eventful. Neither candidate did anything unexpected, and there was no discernible impact on futures overnight.
Watch the video below for a summary of the soundbites from the two candidates’ town-hall performances.
With one debate to go, Trump’s failure to close the substantial polling gap may continue to keep Wall Street optimistic that a contentious election period can be avoided.
On a much stronger day for the Dow 30, Boeing stock was the frontrunner, as it surged 2.5% on news that European aviation officials have deemed it’s 737 MAX 8 jet safe.
Once the cornerstone of Boeing’s business, a couple of tragedies saw the jet grounded worldwide. With plans to get the plane flying again by the end of the year in Europe, it would seem only a matter of time before other major regulators follow suit.
The Dow Jones’ heaviest weighted stock UnitedHealth also helped lift the index, as the healthcare giant rose 1.7%.
Apple stock was one of the weakest performers, losing 0.4%, while Nike was down 0.7%.
Last modified: October 16, 2020 6:24 PM