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

How many people are flying? Has traveled picked up?

Flying is starting to recover to levels the airline industry hasn’t seen in months. The Transportation Security Administration announced on Oct. 19 that it’s screened more than 1 million passengers on a single day — its highest number since March 17. The TSA also screened more than 6 million passengers last week, its highest weekly volume since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. While travel is improving, the TSA announcement comes amid warnings that the U.S. is in the third wave of the coronavirus. There are now more than 8 million cases in the country, with more than 219,000 deaths.

How are Americans feeling about their finances?

Nearly half of all Americans would have trouble paying for an unexpected $250 bill and a third of Americans have less income than before the pandemic, according to the latest results of our Marketplace-Edison Poll. Also, 6 in 10 Americans think that race has at least some impact on an individual’s long-term financial situation, but Black respondents are much more likely to think that race has a big impact on a person’s long-term financial situation than white or Hispanic/Latinx respondents.

Find the rest of the poll results here, which cover how Americans have been faring financially about six months into the pandemic, race and equity within the workplace and some of the key issues Trump and Biden supporters are concerned about.

What’s going to happen to retailers, especially with the holiday shopping season approaching?

A report out recently from the accounting consultancy BDO USA said 29 big retailers filed for bankruptcy protection through August. And if bankruptcies continue at that pace, the number could rival the bankruptcies of 2010, after the Great Recession. For retailers, the last three months of this year will be even more critical than usual for their survival as they look for some hope around the holidays.

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