Investors Waffle as Discouraging Reports Roll In

Market is of two minds, analyst says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 15, 2020 4:10 PM CDT
Stocks Hang On in the Face of Discouraging Data
A currency trader walks near the screens showing the Korea Composite Stock Price Index and foreign exchange rates Friday in Seoul.   (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Stocks capped another wobbly day of trading on Wall Street with modest gains Friday, though the S&P 500 still ended with its biggest weekly loss in nearly two months, per the AP. The benchmark index rose 0.4% after falling 1.3% earlier in the day as investors weighed more grim data showing how badly the coronavirus pandemic is crippling the economy. The government reported that US retail sales sank a record 16.4% in April, the second steep decline in a row as store closures kept shoppers away. Then the Federal Reserve said that industrial production plunged a record 11.2% last month. Overseas, Germany’s economy shrank in the first quarter, meaning that Europe's largest economy is in a recession.

The S&P 500 rose 11.20 points to 2,863.70. It ended down 2.3% for the week, its worst showing since late March and its third weekly loss in the last four. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 60.08 points, to 23,685.42. The Nasdaq added 70.84 points, to 9,014.56. The 10-year Treasury note rose to 0.64% from 0.61% late Thursday. Stocks initially fell in response to the dour economic data, then wavered between small gains and losses through the final minutes of trading. "Investors are really torn," said Chris Zaccarelli, chief investment officer for Independent Advisor Alliance. "There’s one camp of thinking that it's always darkest before the dawn. And the other camp is thinking this is just the tip of the iceberg."

(More stock market stories.)

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