Futures fall after three-day surge as virus fears grow
Friday, 27 March 2020 U.S. stock index futures fell over 2% on Friday, a day after the S&P 500 and the Dow posted their best three-day run since the early 1930s, as the United States faced the prospect of becoming the next global epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.
Business Insider reports that US stocks are on course to close lower for a third consecutive week. The S&P 500 has lost nearly 9% since early September's record high. That decline was mainly driven by losses in the technology sector. But Goldman Sachs, Wells Fargo and Deutsche Bank are upbeat the US stock market sell-off is mostly over. Goldman Sachs kept its end-of year S&P 500 target to 3,600 by year end.
2020 has been a wild ride for stocks. Business Insider reports that the market continues to face risks stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. There is also election uncertainty, and the potential for heightened trade tensions with China. BI reports that investors should continue to hold on for the potential of more gains ahead. In a note, investment group LPL raised its year-end S&P 500 fair-value target to a range of 3,450 to 3,500, the note said.
According to Business Insider, JPMorgan expects the S&P 500 to rise another 6% from current levels to a record 3,600 before the year is over. The S&P500's earnings recovery is "ahead of expectation." Tech stocks have done well, boosting the index. The S&P500 will continue to support its recovery while other sectors gain through the second half of the year, they added. JPMorgan expects S&P 500 firms' margins to fully recover from the pandemic by the second half of 2021.
CFRA's Sam Stovall said that the recent S&P 500 pullback may be converted into a "low-level, double-digital correction." According to Business Insider, Stovall said that this will be an opportunity for investors to buy, not "bail." He feels the Fed is likely to keep interest rates low for the next few years. Stovall added that recent S&P 500 sell-off was not surprising. For Stovall, the "extreme" difference between price returns for growth stocks versus value stocks made the market vulnerable.
There have been back-to-back weeks of stock market declines. In a note UBS said the steady declines should be used by investors as an opportunity to buy stocks at better levels. Record highs were recorded on September 2. Now, the S&P 500 is down 7%, while the Nasdaq 100 is down 10%. UBS expects markets to "refocus on the positives."
On Thursday, US stocks fell 320 points. The drop comes even as weekly jobless-claims data came in better than expected. Business Insider reports that weekly jobless claims fell by more than 30,000 from the previous week, to 860,000. Tech stocks led the decline. Investors continued to process Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell's comments expressing uncertainty about the economic recovery. Powell also said the Fed didn't expect to raise interest rates until at least 2023.
On Thursday, US stocks sank in turbulent trading. Falling tech giants dragged on benchmark indexes. Tech names had rebounded on Wednesday. However, they resumed their downward spiral as investors shunned their still lofty valuations. Traders also mulled weekly jobless-claims data that signaled lasting pain in the US labor market. Jobless claims totaled 884,000 for the week that ended on Saturday, missing the economist estimate of 850,000.
US stocks climbed on Wednesday with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq composite extending records. According to Business Insider, both indexes closed at all-time highs on Tuesday. The rally was partly spurred by sectors that have underperformed in 2020, including utilities and financials. Traders are closely watching for signs that Congress will sign on for another pandemic stimulus bill soon. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Tuesday encouraged Congress to pass stimulus measures.
The bull market kept rolling along Friday with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq once again closing at record heights and the Dow made progress by erasing all of its losses for the year. Conway G. Gittens has the details