COVID-19

Market reactions to COVID-19: Stocks end the week in decline

Janet Nguyen May 1, 2020
A view of Amazon workers at Amazon's Staten Island warehouse holding a strike in March, calling for the facility be shut down and cleaned after one staffer tested positive for the coronavirus. Employees are also taking part in a nationwide strike this Friday, in protest of better working conditions. ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images
COVID-19

Market reactions to COVID-19: Stocks end the week in decline

Janet Nguyen May 1, 2020
A view of Amazon workers at Amazon's Staten Island warehouse holding a strike in March, calling for the facility be shut down and cleaned after one staffer tested positive for the coronavirus. Employees are also taking part in a nationwide strike this Friday, in protest of better working conditions. ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

This post was updated May 1 at 8:02 p.m. Eastern time.

The major stock indexes declined on Friday after major tech companies reported how they’ve been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined by more than 622 points, the S&P 500 by more than 81 points and the Nasdaq composite index by more than 284 points. 

Apple failed to provide financial guidance to investors for the first time since 2003. “As COVID-19 started impacting China, iPhone supply was temporarily affected, as well as demand for our products within China. This caused us to withdraw our revenue guidance in February,” Apple CEO Tim Cook explained during a conference call on Thursday. 

Amazon also revealed how the pandemic has been affecting the company. While the tech giant’s revenue grew 26% during the first three months of the year, CEO Jeff Bezos said the company will spend the entirety of its $4 billion profit on COVID-related expenses between April and June. 

“If you’re a shareowner in Amazon, you may want to take a seat, because we’re not thinking small,” Bezos said

Although some of this would go toward paying for personal protective equipment for Amazon’s warehouse workforce, Amazon shares declined more than 7% after the news.

The market has been seesawing this week amid the release of earnings reports, unemployment data and consumer confidence numbers, along with news from the Federal Reserve and developments surrounding a drug that could treat COVID-19. 

Stocks rose on Wednesday after a study on an experimental drug from Gilead Sciences showed that it reduced the time it takes patients to recover by 31%. The Federal Reserve also announced that it plans to keep its interest rate target between 0% and 0.25%, a range the central bank set in March. “We can do what we can do, and we will do it to the absolute limit of those powers,” Fed Chair Jerome Powell said. 

There are now more than 3.1 million confirmed cases of COVID-19 worldwide and more than 224,300 people have died, according to the World Health Organization. In the United States and its territories, the number of confirmed cases has exceeded 1.1 million, while the death toll has risen to more than 64,800.

Here’s a look at how the major stock indexes have been reacting to the news since the beginning of the year.

COVID-19 Economy FAQs

Are states ready to roll out COVID-19 vaccines?

Claire Hannan, executive director of the nonprofit Association of Immunization Managers, which represents state health officials, said states have been making good progress in their preparations. And we could have several vaccines pretty soon. But states still need more funding, she said. Hannan doesn’t think a lack of additional funding would hold up distribution initially, but it could cause problems down the road. “It’s really worrisome that Congress may not pass funding or that there’s information circulating saying that states don’t need additional funding,” she said.

How is the service industry dealing with the return of coronavirus restrictions?

Without another round of something like the Paycheck Protection Program, which kept a lot of businesses afloat during the pandemic’s early stages, the outlook is bleak for places like restaurants. Some in the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, only got one week of indoor dining back before cases rose and restrictions went back into effect. Restaurant owners are revamping their business models in an effort to survive while waiting to see if they’ll be able to get more aid.

How are hospitals handling the nationwide surge in COVID-19 cases?

As the pandemic surges and more medical professionals themselves are coming down with COVID, nearly 1 in 5 hospitals in the country report having a critical shortage of staff, according to data from the Department of Health and Human Services. One of the knock-on effects of staff shortages is that people who have other medical needs are being asked to wait.

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