Stocks ended higher at the close of a volatile session, as investors digested new economic data including the U.S. Labor Department’s report showing weekly unemployment insurance claims far exceeded expectations.
Earlier, the Dow rose as many as 534 points at session highs before briefly turning negative.
New jobless claims doubled to a 6.648 million for the week ended March 28 as an increasing number of businesses shut down operations amid the coronavirus and put employees out of work. The record level of new jobless claims underscored the unprecedented impact the outbreak has had on the domestic economy, jolting the labor market with swift devastation rather than building to a peak as in prior downturns.
“We knew that massive job losses were coming because of reports that many workers were unable to file a claim for benefits even after waiting on line for hours,” Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist for MUFG Banks, wrote in an email. “Everywhere you look Washington and state governments were not prepared for the rapid spread of the virus and the devastating damage that would be done to the economy if businesses were shut down and workers sent home.”
“In a normal recession, job layoffs build over the many months of recession until they peak,” he said. “In this pandemic-based recession, the job losses are immediate where the economy's weakest hour is right now.”
Meanwhile, crude oil prices surged, climbing more than 34% at the intraday highs Thursday after President Donald Trump said he expected Russia and Saudi Arabia to pare back production by millions of barrels of oil per day. Earlier, Bloomberg reported that China, the world’s largest oil consumer, was planning to start purchasing crude oil for its strategic reserves after the commodity’s recent price declines.
During regular trading Wednesday, stocks kicked off the first session of the second quarter lower, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq each dropping the most in two weeks as investors braced for extended stay-in-place orders and widespread shutdowns to further batter the economy and corporate profitability.
An increasing number of states have rolled out stay-at-home orders to try and mitigate the spread of the coronavirus, which has so far infected more than 216,000 individuals in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins data as of Wednesday evening.
The governors of Florida, Georgia, Mississippi and Nevada announced some of the latest state-wide stay-in-place orders, joining those of more than three dozen other states in officially urging residents to remain in their homes as much as possible. President Donald Trump earlier this week extended the federal social distancing guidelines through the end of April, and Italy and Germany on Wednesday each extended their own country-wide lockdown orders.
While a necessary step to prevent the virus from infecting more individuals, the social distancing measures have also weighed heavily on economy and individual businesses, many of which have had to lay off workers as demand dries up. Automakers General Motors and Fiat Chrysler each reported steeper than expected first-quarter sales declines, as consumers shirked auto showrooms to stay at home.
Two separate reports Wednesday showed U.S. manufacturing activity dipped back into contractionary territory in March, with one underscoring the fastest deterioration in the sector’s output and new orders since the financial crisis of 2009. Another report on Wednesday showed small businesses lost 90,000 payrolls in March through the 12th of the month, reflecting the early impacts of the coronavirus on the domestic labor market.
4:02 p.m. ET: Stocks end higher after crude oil posts its biggest one-day jump on record
Here’s where the major indices had settled as of 4:02 p.m. ET:
S&P 500 (^GSPC): +56.40 (+2.28%) to 2,526.90
Dow (^DJI): +469.93 (+2.24%) to 21,413.44
Nasdaq (^IXIC): +126.73 (+1.72%) to 7,487.31
Crude (CL=F): +$4.47 (+22.01%) to $24.78 a barrel
Gold (GC=F): +$49.20 (+3.09%) to $1,640.60 per ounce
10-year Treasury (^TNX): -0.8 bps to yield 0.6270%
2:33 p.m. ET: Crude oil settles 24.7% higher for best one-day gain on record
West Texas intermediate crude oil futures settled 24.7% higher Thursday to $25.32 per barrel, representing the commodity’s largest single-day percentage gain in history.
Brent crude traded 21.26% higher to $30.00 per barrel as of 2:33 p.m. ET.
2:10 p.m. ET: Stocks erase earlier gains, Dow turns negative
Stocks wiped out earlier advances, and the Dow and Nasdaq turned negative.
Here’s where the three major indices were trading as of 2:13 p.m. ET:
S&P 500 (^GSPC): +2.89 points (+0.12%) to 2,473.39
Dow (^DJI): -44.1 (-0.21%) to 20,899.11
Nasdaq (^IXIC): -15.33 points (-0.21%) to 7,345.27
12:33 p.m. ET: Stocks off session highs, but still hold in positive territory
The three major indices pulled back slightly from their session highs, but were still positive during intraday trading.
Here were the main moves in markets, as of 12:34 p.m. ET:
S&P 500 (^GSPC): +40.82 points (+1.65%) to 2,511.32
Dow (^DJI): +315 points (+1.52%) to 21,262.73
Nasdaq (^IXIC): +91.76 points (+1.26%) to 7,453.80
Crude (CL=F): +$4.91 (+24.18%) to $25.22 a barrel
Gold (GC=F): +$43.90 (+2.76%) to $1,635.30 per ounce
10-year Treasury (^TNX): -1.8 bps to yield 0.617%
11:01 a.m. ET: Crude oil rises further, jumping 34.9%
U.S. crude oil prices advanced even further, rising more than 30% at session highs for its largest gain on record.
West Texas intermediate traded as high as $27.39 per barrel Thursday morning after settling at $20.31 per barrel Wednesday.
10:45 a.m. ET: Stocks extend gains, shaking off earlier jobless claims report
The three major indices added to gains about an hour into the trading session, with each of the S&P 500 and Dow up more than 2%.
The Energy sector outperformed in the S&P 500, surging 11.75% amid the broader jump in crude oil prices. Shares of Chevron and Exxon Mobil led advances in the Dow, climbing 11.4% and 9.2%, respectively.
10:35 a.m. ET: Crude oil rises after Trump says he expects Saudi Arabia, Russia will cut production by 10 million barrels per day
Crude oil prices increased Thursday after President Donald Trump said in a Twitter post Thursday that he expects Saudi Arabia and Russia will reduce production by millions of barrels of oil per day, alleviating some concerns of oversupply after the two nations launched a price war.
U.S. West Texas intermediate rose 15.36% to $23.43 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 14.67% to $26.46 per barrel.
Just spoke to my friend MBS (Crown Prince) of Saudi Arabia, who spoke with President Putin of Russia, & I expect & hope that they will be cutting back approximately 10 Million Barrels, and maybe substantially more which, if it happens, will be GREAT for the oil & gas industry!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 2, 2020
9:32 a.m. ET: Stocks open little changed after jobless claims skyrocket
Here were the main moves in markets, as of 9:34 a.m. ET:
S&P 500 (^GSPC): +5.56 points (+0.23%) to 2,476.06
Dow (^DJI): -2.17 points (-0.01%) to 20,941.34
Nasdaq (^IXIC): +28.48 points (+0.37%) to 7,388.01
Crude (CL=F): +$1.71 (+8.42%) to $22.02 a barrel
Gold (GC=F): +$34.10 (+2.14%) to $1,625.50 per ounce
10-year Treasury (^TNX): -4.6 bps to yield 0.589%
9:23 a.m. ET: Luckin Coffee stock nosedives amid probe into sales fabrication
Chinese coffee company Luckin Coffee said Thursday that it is investigating internal reports that its Chief Operating Officer Jian Liu and other employees engaged in misconduct and fabricated 2019 sales. Preliminary results of the investigation suggest fabricated transactions from the second to fourth quarters of 2019 totaled RMB 2.2 billion, or around $310 million.
Liu and the employees in question have been suspended, and the company said investors should not rely on previously issued financial statements in earnings for the nine months ended September 30 and two quarters beginning April 1, 2019 and ended September 30, 2019.
Shares of Luckin were down more than 80% in early trading.
9:09 a.m. ET: Stock futures pare gains after report underscores greater than expected new unemployment claims last week
Stock futures pared gains Thursday morning after the Labor Department’s report for new unemployment claims rose to a fresh record high, doubling the prior week’s record.
Here’s where contracts on thre three major indices were trading, as of 9:09 a.m. ET:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): up 0.48%, or +11.75 points to 2,459.75
Dow futures (YM=F): up 0.39% or +81 points to 20.821.00
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): up 0.21% or +15.75 points to 7,454.5
8:30 a.m. ET: Jobless claims jump to record high of 6.648 million
Unemployment claims rose to a fresh record high of 6.648 million for the week ended March 28, the U.S. Labor Department reported Thursday.
Consensus economists had expected claims would come in at 3.763 million, according to Bloomberg-compiled data Thursday morning. On the high end, at least one firm had expected claims to skyrocket to 6 million.
New unemployment insurance claims for the prior week were revised to 3.307 million, from the 3.283 million previously reported
7:13 a.m. ET Thursday: Futures hold onto gains ahead of weekly jobless claims report
Here were the main moves in markets, as of 7:13 a.m. ET:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): up 1.75%, or +42.75 points to 2,490.75
Dow futures (YM=F): up 1.89% or +391 points to 21,131
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): up 1.28% or +95 points to 7,533.75
Crude (CL=F): +$2.11 (+10.39%) to $22.42 a barrel
Gold (GC=F): +$14.10 (+0.89%) to $1,605.50 per ounce
10-year Treasury (^TNX): -4.9 bps to yield 0.586%
6:01 p.m. ET Wednesday: Stock futures open higher
Here were the main moves in markets, as of 6:01 p.m. ET:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): up 0.66%, or +16.25 points to 2,464.25
Dow futures (YM=F): up 0.64% or +132 points to 20,872.00
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): up 0.55% or +41.25 points to 7,480