Markets May Press Pause for Weekend

Prices gapped 1% lower at the open on the back of a worse-than-expected initial jobless claims number (3mil vs 2.5mil expected).  However, after the dust settled for 30 minutes the rest of the data was a strong, steady climb with prices closing near the high.  Technically, the SPY and especially DIA seemed to find support off the 50sma and bounced.  However, it is hard to say any of the 3 major indices broke their now 3-day downtrend.  For the day, SPY gained 1.22%, DIA gained 1.69%, and QQQ gained 1.14%.  The VXX was down a bit to 37.67 and 10-year bond yields fell to 0.62%.  Oil (WTI) rallied nearly 10% again to close at $27.73/barrel.

The cause of the day-long rally seems to be two-fold.  First, even though new initial jobless claims were worse than expected, the continuing jobless claims only rose by less than half a million.  This means that although almost 3 million people filed for unemployment this week, over 2.5 million also went back to work.  Secondly, in the inverse logic of markets, bad numbers mean it is more likely we will see more stimulus from both the Fed and fiscal sides of government.  This was reinforced when Fed voter Kashkari told CBS that Congress will have to send Americans more money as he sees the recovery taking 12-18 months.

On the Virus front itself, the global headline numbers are 4,546,070 confirmed cases and 303,863 deaths.  In Germany, the government reported the worst Q1 contraction since the 2008 Financial Crisis and projected a 10% decline in GDP for Q2.  The Russian outbreak continues to run wild as they reported another 11,000 cases again.  In Asia, the virus worry is limited to a few hotspots.  However, India reported another 4,000 new cases and China very recently locked down several cities/provinces again.

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In the US, we have 1,457,649 confirmed cases and 86,912 deaths.  Among the fallout, JCP is expected to file for bankruptcy today.  CNBC reports that the White House would now likely support a new round of stimulus checks as proposed by Democrats, but this is not an official announcement and only based on sources.  The House is set to vote on the Democrat’s $3 Trillion bill, but both the Republicans in the Senate and the White House had called it “DOA.” So, again, this all seems to be negotiating tactics in the political theatre.

Overnight, Asian markets were mixed, but the red boards were not that far below break-even.  In Europe, the same is true, but leaning even more to the green side as France and Finland are the only red at this point in the day.  However, as of 7:30 am, US futures are in the red, now pointing to a 0.70% gap lower at the open. 

The major economic news for Friday includes Apr. Retail Sales and NY Fed Mfg. Index (both at 8:30 am), Apr. Industrial Production (9:15 am), Mar. Business Inventories, Mar. JOLTS, Michigan Consumer Sentiment and Mar. Retail Inventories (all at 10 am).  The only major earnings on tap for Friday are JD, PBF, and VFC all before the open.

A bounce off of support helped the bulls Thursday.  However, they were unable to break the 3-day downtrend that has formed this week.  While the bulls are not likely to accept the setback for long, it is Friday and a pause to absorb weekend reopening news might not be a bad thing.  Weekend news on the next round of stimulus and some feedback on new cases during reopening may be something traders want in their pocket before making more big bets.  So, the short-term pullback continues and high volatility remains in place.  Keep watching the short-term chart in front of you.  Don’t chase or predict, and remain cautious about longer-term swing trades.


No trade ideas for Friday. Trade smart, take profits along the way and trade your plan. Also, don't forget to check for upcoming earnings. Finally, remember that the stocks/etfs we mention and talk about in the trading room are not recommendations to buy or sell.

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