Weekly Economic Update: July 13, 2020

The Markets (as of market close July 10, 2020)

Last Monday proved to be a good start to the week for equities as all benchmark indexes posted solid gains. The Nasdaq reached a record high as surging tech stocks drove that index up 2.2% for its fifth consecutive gain. The Dow finished the day up nearly 1.8%, and the S&P 500 climbed 1.6%.

Last Tuesday saw the end of a five-day winning streak as stocks slid, despite reports from the White House and Senate promoting a new round of stimulus. An increase in COVID-19 outbreaks seemed to dim investor hopes. Sectors taking a particular hit were industrials, energy, and financials. The small caps of the Russell 2000 lost nearly 2.0%, the Dow fell 1.5%, the S&P 500 dropped 1.1%, and the Nasdaq dipped 0.9%.

Equities rebounded last Wednesday as Apple and Amazon sent the Nasdaq to another record high. Gold shot past $1,800 per ounce, crude oil closed at nearly $41.0 per barrel, and Treasury yields dipped.

Last Thursday saw stocks fall on fears that the rising number of COVID-19 cases will undercut the economy. The Dow dropped 1.4%, the small caps of the Russell 2000 fell 2.0%, the Global Dow gave back 0.8%, and the S&P 500 lost 0.6%. Industrials, energy, and financials were market sectors hit particularly hard. Only the Nasdaq closed higher, gaining 0.5% as tech stocks held their own. Crude oil prices plunged 2.6%. Treasury yields fell as bond prices surged.

Stocks climbed higher last Friday following the release of promising clinical results for COVID-19 treatment by Gilead Science. Finance, banks, energy, communications, and industrials performed well on the day. Each of the major indexes enjoyed solid daily gains, led by the Russell 2000, which closed last Friday up 1.7%.

Despite its strong showing last Friday, the Russell 2000 ended last week as the only index in the red. The Nasdaq led the way, gaining 4.0%, followed by the S&P 500, the Global Dow, and the Dow. Investors seem to be clinging to any positive news to offset the record number of reported virus cases and ongoing discord with China, particularly as it relates to that country’s dealings with Hong Kong.

Crude oil prices rallied late last week, closing at $40.49 per barrel by late Friday afternoon, up from the prior week’s price of $40.32. The price of gold (COMEX) advanced for the fourth consecutive week, closing at $1,801.40, up from the prior week’s price of $1,787.60.

Last Week’s Economic News

  • Producer prices reversed course in June, dropping slightly after climbing the previous month. For the last 12 months, producer prices are down 0.8%. In June, a 1.8% decline in margins for trade services (trade indexes measure changes in margins received by wholesalers and retailers) was the primary drag on producer prices. Prices for goods rose 0.2% in June.

  • According to the latest Job Openings and Labor Turnover report, the number of hires increased by 2.4 million to 6.5 million in May — the largest monthly increase of hires since the series began. Separations decreased by 5.8 million to 4.1 million, also a series high.

  • Economic activity in the services sector surged in June following two consecutive monthly retractions. According to the latest Non-Manufacturing ISM® Report On Business®, the non-manufacturing index climbed 11.7 percentage points, the largest single-month percentage point increase in the history of the index.

  • For the week ended July 4, there were 1,314,000 claims for unemployment insurance, a decrease of 99,000 from the previous week’s level.

Eye on the Week Ahead

This week the Consumer Price Index is likely to show some upward price pressure in June. Also, industrial production is expected to climb in June as more businesses reopened.

Have a nice week!





Robert G. Carpenter

President & CEO
Baltimore-Washington Financial Advisors