Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Markets wrap: Stocks fluctuate after virus-drug test disappoints

Apr 24. 2020
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By  Syndication Washington Post, Bloomberg · Claire Ballentine · BUSINESS, US-GLOBAL-MARKETS

U.S. stocks swung between gains an losses after a report said that a leading experimental coronavirus drug performed poorly in a test. Crude oil climbed back above $15 a barrel.

The S&P 500 was little changed after rising as much as 1.6% and dropping into negative territory. Gilead Sciences Inc.'s antiviral drug remdesivir flopped in its first randomized clinical trial, the Financial Times reported, citing draft documents published accidentally by the World Health Organization. The drug company disputed that characterization.

"Investors have pinned their hopes on continued progress toward curve flattening and eventually a vaccine. They are willing to look past negative economic prints for now and focus on more favorable developments that suggest current head winds could prove transitory," said Adam Phillips, director of portfolio strategy at EP Wealth Advisors. "Today's sudden reaction illustrates how fickle investors are in the current environment."

The S&P 500 is still on pace for a second consecutive gain, with Exxon and Chevron posting the biggest gains in the energy sector. Crude oil climbed in New York, two days after futures dropped below zero. Equities gained earlier even after a report showed U.S. jobless claims surged by 4.4 million last week. Total job losses now exceed 26 million in the wake of the economic shutdown prompted by the coronavirus pandemic.

Elsewhere, the dollar was mixed against most major peers. Gold managed its first back-to-back gain in over a week as investors weighed the prospects of another wave of stimulus in virus-hit economies.

These are some of the main moves in markets:

- - -

- The S&P 500 Index fell 0.1% to 2,797.80 as of 4:13 p.m. New York time.

- The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 0.2% to 23,515.26.

- The Nasdaq Composite Index was little changed at 8,494.75.

- The MSCI All-Country World Index increased 0.2% to 470.08.

- - -

- The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index gained 0.1% to 1,261.12, the highest in two weeks.

- The Japanese yen strengthened 0.1% to 107.62 per dollar.

- The euro dipped 0.4% to $1.0773, the weakest in four weeks.

- The British pound rose 0.1% to $1.2346.

- - -

- The yield on two-year Treasurys gained less than one basis point to 0.22%.

- The yield on 10-year Treasurys decreased two basis points to 0.59%.

- Britain's 10-year yield dipped four basis points to 0.292%, the lowest in more than five weeks.

- Germany's 10-year yield fell two basis points to -0.42%.

- - -

- Brent crude rose 6.8% to $21.79 a barrel, the biggest advance in more than two weeks.

- Gold strengthened 1.1% to $1,731.65 an ounce, the highest on record.

- West Texas Intermediate crude for June rose 23% to $17 a barrel.

 

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