The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) crept toward gains on Thursday as stock market bulls enjoyed a rare day of lower volatility.
Billionaire investors are eyeing China and starting to taste opportunity as the U.S. government begins to get its coronavirus outbreak under control.
Among the three major stock market indices, the Nasdaq was comfortably the most impressive:
In the commodity sector, the oil price enjoyed a phenomenal rally, climbing 24% to $25 per barrel as the risk environment improved and the massive rally in the U.S. dollar slowed.
The price of gold fell slightly as volatility eased in the stock market, trading close to flat on the day. Digital asset bitcoin exploded higher as a 20% rally carried BTC/USD back through the $6,000 handle.
The United States now has over 10,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. Despite the alarming rate of spread, this was an expected result of the government ramping up COVID-19 testing.
While the Dow’s previous rallies proved to be classic dead cat bounces, optimists are taking a look at China’s ability to slow the spread of COVID-19 and getting quite bullish about the fact that this crisis has a limited time-frame.
Naturally, a sizable chunk of these glass-half-full folks are multi-billionaires with plenty of cash on hand.
Carl Icahn, Warren Buffett, and Carlos Slim have all dived into the battered stock market recently.
Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Class A stock has performed only slightly better than the Dow Jones this year. Still, with a considerable amount of dollars at his disposal, it is only a matter of time before the company looks at a huge acquisition.
Some have speculated that troubled Dow giant Boeing might be a potential Berkshire target, particularly given Buffett’s love of monopolistic businesses.
As analysts try to get ahead of what will likely be an extremely miserable set of economic data in the United States, tracking key metrics of business activity is one method to gauge the fallout from the coronavirus.
Economist Bill Diviney at ABN AMRO sees many of the same negative dynamics in the U.S. economy that plagued China over the last few months.
For the US, we are now tracking air passenger throughput at airports, coal production, and railroad freight transport – among others.
All show markedly lower rates of activity than in the same periods of previous years, with the most striking change visible so far coming in air travel; here, TSA data shows that as of 14 March, passenger numbers were already half that of the equivalent 2019 levels, having steadily declined from 100% of 2019 levels at the beginning of March.
Such a conservative display from the U.S. consumer is not good news for the Dow Jones. Healthy household spending is widely considered to be the foundation of the economy as manufacturing slides deeper into recession.
Unemployment spikes are anticipated around the world, with the principal question for Wall Street being how long the shutdown will last.
On a cautious day in the Dow 30, the index yielded a mixed bag for investors as volatility slowed and traders enjoyed a more peaceful day of trade.
The Dow Jones’ largest stock, Apple, was stuck below the $250 handle. Many unknowns remain about its earnings outlook with no timetable for its stores reopening in the United States. Apple bulls will be anxiously awaiting to see its results in China to evaluate how quickly demand is picking up there.
Boeing stock continues to struggle, down 2% as its future continues to hang in the balance, with a drawn-out battle in Congress expected over its demands for a $60 billion bailout.
After dumping a considerable chunk of its free cash flow on buybacks, future restrictions on share repurchases will likely weigh heavily on Boeing’s ability to rally. Donald Trump has already announced he supports buyback restrictions.
Big oil enjoyed a brighter day as crude rallied, while defensive coronavirus play Walgreens suffered an 11% slide.
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