Roundup: U.S. equities post weekly gains despite grim economic data

Source: Xinhua| 2020-05-10 04:18:35|Editor: huaxia

NEW YORK, May 9 (Xinhua) -- Wall Street finished the past week on an upbeat note and posted solid weekly gains even after economic data painting the picture continues to worsen.

For the week, the Dow advanced 2.6 percent, the S&P 500 ended 3.5 percent higher, while the Nasdaq climbed 6 percent.

The markets ended sharply higher on Friday with the Dow up more than 450 points despite data showing record job losses in the world's largest economy last month.

U.S. total nonfarm payroll employment fell by 20.5 million in April, and the unemployment rate rose to 14.7 percent, due to the impact from the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday.

Employment fell sharply in all major industry sectors, with particularly heavy job losses in leisure and hospitality, said the report.

"Huge job losses and a post-Great Depression high in the unemployment rate nevertheless understate the full extent of the damage in the labor market in April," Chris Low, chief economist at FHN Financial, said in a note.

"The report was still so bad it was ignored by markets, which failed to move," Low added.

"The stock market does not respond to what's happening or already happened in the economy," Mitch Zacks,CEO at Zacks Investment Management, said in a note on Saturday.

"The stock market is forward-looking, a discounter of future economic conditions," he said, adding he expects "bouts of downside volatility before this is over."

Dire data blanketed the airwaves and newspapers as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to ravage the U.S. economy.

Another 3.169 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the week ending May 2, the U.S. Department of Labor reported Thursday. That brought the seven-week total to about 33.5 million.

U.S. Non-Manufacturing Index registered 41.8 percent in April, falling sharply from the March reading of 52.5 percent, the Institute of Supply Management reported Tuesday. A reading below 50 percent indicates the sector is generally contracting.

Wall Street bet on the possibility of normalizing economic activities as a growing number of U.S. states started to loosen coronavirus-tied lockdowns.

"The main areas of interest will be seeing if there are any hot spots or flare ups after businesses reopen," Kevin Matras, an analyst at Zacks Investment Research, said in a note.

As of Saturday afternoon, more than 1.3 million confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported in the United States, with over 78,000 deaths, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University. Enditem