Nasdaq turns positive for 2020 as investors bet on economic recovery

U.S. equity markets rose on Thursday as investors focused on the early stages of an economic recovery as more states began reopening businesses. Also, record jobless claims showed signs of stabilizing.

The Nasdaq Composite turned positive for the year rising 1.4 percent while the S&P 500 gained 1.1 percent and the Dow Jones Industrial Average added over 211 points or 0.89 percent.

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President Trump, speaking to reporters, signaled an economic recovery could begin in the third quarter and grow from there.

“Next year we are going to have a phenomenal year…economically,” said Trump who also noted that the unemployment picture would begin to improve.

Initial jobless claims for the week ended May 2 totaled 3.17 million, according to the Labor Department, smaller than the previous week's total of 3.84 million. More than 33 million Americans have lost work over the past seven weeks, taking unemployment to levels not recorded since the Great Depression.

At least six U.S. states are taking steps Thursday to phase out lockdowns imposed to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has virtually halted economies worldwide. Construction and real-estate activities are resuming in Michigan, outdoor activities are resuming in Maryland and school boards have the option to reopen classrooms in Montana.

Looking at stocks, Costco Wholesale Corp.’s comparable sales fell 0.5 percent in April – the first drop since July 2009 – as stay-at-home orders dinged business.

JetBlue reported a $268 million loss in the first quarter as demand for air travel plunged. The airline reported top- and bottom-line results that fell short of Wall Street estimates.

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Wynn Resorts lost $420 million in the first quarter as operating revenue plunged 42 percent from a year ago amid casino closures related to COVID-19.  The casino operator will continue to pay its 15,000 U.S. employees through May 31.

Elsewhere, Peloton Interactive Inc. shares surged after the exercise-bike maker reported sales soared 66 percent in the third quarter as gym-goers worked out at home. The company reported a loss of $55.6 million for the quarter. Shares closed at a fresh record.


Moderna Inc. shares spiked after the drugmaker said it received approval from the Food and Drug Administration to advance its COVID-19 vaccine candidate to a phase 2 trial.

West Texas Intermediate crude reversed earlier gains slipping 1.3 percent to $23.55. Chinese government data showed Beijing’s oil imports snapped back to the equivalent of 10.42 million barrels per day in April – just below the 10.64 million barrels from a year ago. Meanwhile, gold jumped 2.2 percent to $1,721 an ounce.

U.S. Treasurys ticked higher, pushing the yield on the 10-year note to 0.630 percent.

In Europe, France’s CAC added 1.17 percent, Germany’s DAX climbed 0.97 percent and Britain’s FTSE rose 1 percent after the Bank of England held interest rates near zero and said the U.K. economy could shrink by 14 percent in 2020.

Asian markets were lower, with China’s Shanghai Composite down 0.23 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng weaker by 0.65 percent. Japan’s Nikkei remained closed for holiday.

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