How major US stock indexes fared Friday

Daniel Fowler
May 23, 2020

The S&P 500 and NASDAQ also rose more than 3% this week.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil prices slumped as much as 9% amid broader risk-off sentiment before settling roughly 1.5% lower.

The gains south of the border were even stronger for the week, rising at least 3.2 per cent, despite a quiet day on US markets ahead of the Memorial Day long weekend.

Stocks closed little changed Friday as investors capped a strong week of gains amid optimism around a potential coronavirus vaccine and the USA reopening its economy.

"The future remains uncertain, and thus, we are not confident in saying a second wave can not happen - but the good news, there has yet to be a second wave in re-opened economies", said Tom Lee, founder and head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors.

Traders remain wary, however, that the reopening of businesses could lead to another surge in infections, potentially hobbling efforts to get the nation's battered economy growing again.

Ed Mills, Washington policy analyst at Raymond James, said the bill is moving at "warp speed", noting: "We believe there will be a significant push for the legislation to be taken up in the coming weeks, and we believe it is only a matter of time before this bill (or something similar) is signed into law". "There's still an terrible lot of uncertainty we have to work though".

The S&P 500 rose 6.94 points to 2,955.45. The index is still down 12.7% from its all-time high in February. The Nasdaq composite added 39.71 points, or 0.4%, to 9,324.59.

Despite the uneven finish, the three major stock indexes each ended the week more than 3% higher.

The Russell 2000 index of small company stocks gained 7.97 points, or 0.6%, to 1,355.53.

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The S&P 500 is down 275.33 points, or 8.5%.

Investors are now keenly focused on the process of reopening the USA economy, which is likely to continue accelerating as the summer progresses.

Earlier in Asia, Hong Kong's Hang Seng slid more than 5% to a seven-week low, its biggest daily percentage fall since 2015.

Markets are caught between poor economic data and U.S. The dollar strengthened and oil snapped a six-day winning streak.

The July crude contract was down 89 cents at US$33.03 per barrel and the July natural gas contract was little changed at US$1.85 per mmBTU.

Oil prices deleted $1.51 to $32.41 US a barrel.

"I still think this is going to be a hard period for oil because even if the economy is reopened, it doesn't mean that behaviourally people are just going to go back to the way things were".

Benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury yields fell 0.2 basis points to 0.6574%.

The choppy trading on Wall Street followed a downbeat day in Asia. Beijing also abandoned its longstanding practice of setting economic growth targets.

Overnight, China released draft legislation over new national security measures on Hong Kong after last year's burst of anti-government protests in the city.

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