“There has to be a capitulation where everyone throws their hands in the air and sells it all, gets rid of the hopes and dreams they had for the stocks in their portfolio,” Kim Forrest, founder and chief investment officer at Bokeh Capital Management told MarketWatch.
Because the damage to the job market came so quickly, U.S. unemployment benefit systems have been overwhelmed. Some economists estimate the true number of people out of work could be as much as one-third higher . That makes the true jobless rate hard to reckon, but estimates range from 15% to 20%.
“I don’t believe looking to the past, looking at the economic data, has any relevance in this situation,” Forrest said. “We really don’t know how to restart an economy that’s been closed because of fear in the population.”
Investors were also watching a meeting of oil producers that is intended to stabilize oil prices and end a damaging price war for market share between major crude producers Russia and Saudi Arabia. Although a deal in principal between Riyadh and Moscow has been announced, investors fearing that those efforts won’t be enough to address a demand shock created by the viral outbreak dragged prices of crude from gains to a 9.3% loss, weighing on the energy sector.
The move lower “was very much related to crude everyone says they want to comprise but at the end of the day nobody wants to give too much up,” JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade told MarketWatch.
In other U.S. data, the preliminary reading of the consumer-sentiment survey sank to 71 in early April from 89.1, marking the biggest-ever one-month decline and putting the index at lowest level since 2011, the University of Michigan said Thursday .
How did other markets trade?
In bond markets, the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note /zigman2/quotes/211347051/realtime BX:TMUBMUSD10Y 0.00% retreated by 4 basis points to 0.722% from 0.762% late Wednesday. Bond prices rise as yields fall.
U.S. oil prices finished sharply lower in volatile trade amid a meeting of OPEC and a number of key producers, with a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery giving up double-digit gains to settle 9.3% lower at $22.76 a barrel.
In precious metals, the price of an ounce of gold for June delivery jumped to end at its highest finish since November 2012, adding $68.50, or 4.1%, to settle at $1,752.80 an ounce.
The U.S. dollar was 0.6% lower relative to a basket of trading peers, gauged by the ICE U.S. Dollar /zigman2/quotes/210598269/delayed DXY -0.23% .
In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP +0.41% closed 1.6% higher on Thursday, and the FTSE 100 /zigman2/quotes/202614236/delayed FR:FTSE -0.23% finished 2.9% higher.
In Asia overnight, stocks closed mostly higher. The China CSI 300 /zigman2/quotes/210598128/delayed XX:000300 +1.24% gained 0.3%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI +0.28% advanced 1.4% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK +0.40% finished virtually unchanged, off less than 0.1%.
Which companies were in focus?
Canada Goose Holdings Inc. said it would rehire 900 workers to manufacture protective gear. The outerwear company’s shares jumped nearly 4% to finish Thursday trading but have lost more than half their value over the past year.
General Electric Co. shares rose even after the conglomerate said it expects its per-share earnings to be “materially below” guidance provided in early March, although free cash flow would likely be “near” its earlier guidance. Shares gained 2.2% on the day.
Shares of Hertz Global Holdings Inc. rose 5% after Deutsche Bank analysts cut their price target for the company by more than half, to $9 from $19. That would still represent significant upside for the car rental company’s stock price.
Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. said it expects first-quarter earnings to be ahead of last year’s, but warned business will be slower in the second quarter. Shares rose 5.6%.
Carvana Co. /zigman2/quotes/206651606/composite CVNA +4.61% shares ended 4.9% higher after a price target change, to $75 from $50, by Wells Fargo.
Shares of Walt Disney Co. /zigman2/quotes/203410047/composite DIS -1.31% jumped 3.4% Thursday after the entertainment company reported more than 50 million subscribers to its Disney + streaming service.