Weekly Economic Update 11/02/2020

The Week On Wall Street

Stock prices dropped last week as hopes for a fiscal stimulus bill faded and investors focused on rising COVID-19 infections, here and abroad.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 6.47%, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 tumbled 5.64%. The Nasdaq Composite index lost 5.51% for the week. The MSCI EAFE index, which tracks developed overseas stock markets, slumped 5.02%.1

A Difficult Week For Stocks

Stocks opened the week lower as lawmakers failed to pass a fiscal stimulus bill and a pick up in the number of new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. and Europe. The hardest hit were companies most exposed to pandemic-related economic impacts, including energy, travel and leisure, and industrials.

Losses accelerated mid-week on reports of rising coronavirus-related hospitalizations, along with news that Germany and France were reinstating partial shutdown restrictions.2

Stocks attempted to recover on Thursday but took another leg lower on Friday as earnings reports from the mega-cap technology companies failed to impress investors.

Positive Economic News

There were several strong economic reports during the week, but investors paid little attention. Among the highlights were durable goods orders, which rose for the fifth consecutive month, a sharp drop in initial jobless claims that were the lowest since March 14th, and a 33.1% annualized jump in economic growth during the third quarter.1,2

Investors also ignored a strong start to earnings season, which has seen 85% of reporting companies in the S&P 500 index beating earnings estimates by an average margin of 19%.2

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