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  • The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended  33.33 points, or 0.1%, higher to reach 23,537.68.
  • The S&P 500 added 0.4%, or 11.90 points, to end at 2,787.
  • The Nasdaq Composite Index rallied  140.75 points, or 1.6%, to close at 8,734.75.

US benchmarks were in a chop in Thursday, dipping in and out of the positive and negative territory, although ending high for the close despite the economic impact of COVID-19. 

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended  33.33 points, or 0.1%, higher to reach 23,537.68, despite the start of the day’s drop on the back of shares in JP Morgan and Exxon Mobil weighing along with Chevron and Boeing (-8%). Meanwhile, the S&P 500 added 0.4%, or 11.90 points, to end at 2,787 and The Nasdaq Composite Index rallied  140.75 points, or 1.6%, to close at 8,734.75, holding form from the start of the day. 

Health-care and technology-related stocks were the best performers propping up the market, although there was an underbelly of concern pertaining to the US economy and the spread of COVID-19, hamstringing the bulls. The CDC reported a jump of new deaths to 27,012 versus 24,582 yesterday. New global cases rose again and confirmed cases now surpass 2m. New York’s lockdown was extended two weeks to May 15.

US planning to get back to work

Nevertheless, the prospects of nations reopening economies shut down due to the effort to slow the spread of the virus keep spirits alive and investors were able to brush off the doom and gloom in the corporate earnings reports. Germany started to lay out its plans in earlier announcements and the US plans were starting to come out late in the day. More on this here: Trump tells state governors they will ‘call the shots’ when it comes to reopening the US economy – media reports

US data doesn’t disappoint the bears

Meanwhile, the April Philadelphia Fed Index fell to the lowest level in four decades, -56.6 from 12.7, compared with -32 expected. Initial claims added another 5.2m. The four-week sum is sitting at 22m now. The US is now on track for a 17% unemployment rate in April, which would be a new post-WWII high. March housing starts fell 22.3% m/m, compared with expectations of a 18.7% drop (in February it dropped 3.4%). A bigger drop is expected in April due to the lockdown. Building permits sank 6.8%.

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