The Dow Jones rallied to start the week despite a stunningly bearish Q2 GDP estimate from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.
The Dow Jones shrugged off widespread unrest in the United States on Monday, clambering around 100 points higher despite opening to triple-digit losses.
But the stock market rally is looking increasingly curious. The economy still faces titanic threats, and a new estimate from one Federal Reserve branch predicts U.S. GDP will plummet an eye-watering 52% in Q2.
All three of the major U.S. stock market indices clung to gains in late afternoon trading:
The relatively minor moves in the stock market did not provide an accurate picture of the mood in the United States, where tensions are anything but mild.
Widespread looting and destruction of businesses in most major U.S. cities didn’t seem to bother Wall Street, but that doesn’t mean it’s something investors should ignore.
Civil unrest is just another thing to stack on top of the pile of bearish fundamentals that have been building this year.
Riots aren’t going to bolster consumer spending, and the economy will never bounce back quickly if this “linchpin” doesn’t return with a vengeance.
That’s all the more true after digesting the latest unofficial GDP estimate from the Atlanta Federal Reserve.
That forecast is nothing short of jarring. The bank’s “GDPNow” model anticipates real GDP growth will slide by 52.8% in the second quarter.
Economic forecasts weren’t the only bad news for bulls today. The hard data releases weren’t pretty either.
ISM manufacturing PMI came in at just 43.1, which demonstrates that U.S. industrial production is continuing to struggle as troubled supply chains and squashed demand filter through to a sector that was weak before the pandemic.
Economist James Knightley at ING believes that the job losses may have peaked overall, but the pain is going to continue for some time in the manufacturing industry:
So far, the 40 million or so jobs lost have been concentrated in retail, travel and hospitality but the pain is clearly spreading to other sectors. Friday’s unemployment rate figure will probably come in around 20%.
This will hopefully mark the peak as the re-opening process gathers momentum, but it is likely that job losses in the manufacturing sector continue over the coming months.
But Dow bulls don’t appear to be too concerned. The rising unemployment rate has so far failed to do any damage whatsoever over the last few weeks. There’s not any reason to expect this to change when the Labor Department publishes its monthly employment report on Friday.
On a positive day for the Dow 30, Boeing (NYSE: BA) was the index’s top performer. The aerospace giant rallied around 4% despite mass layoffs at the company.
Despite a dip in the price of crude oil, Chevron and Exxon Mobil posted gains of more than 1.5%. With global economies loosening coronavirus restrictions, investors are banking that energy consumption will rally.
Pfizer stock brought up the rear, trailing every other DJIA member by a considerable margin. PFE plummeted 7% after its breast cancer drug trials were canceled, damaging high hopes for a lucrative breakthrough.