Stocks tumbled on Friday, closing out a rocky week on a down note as big tech stocks extended a weeklong sell-off — dragging all of Wall Street lower in spite of encouraging developments in the economy.
In recent sessions, high profile names like Amazon (AMZN), Facebook (FB) and Apple (AAPL) have slumped sharply after hitting record highs. The sector’s rout led the Nasdaq to its worst levels since July 31, and Friday saw the bellwether shed nearly 2% intraday. Meanwhile, the S&P logged losses that pushed it to a six week low. All three of the major market indexes have fallen for three weeks straight.
Apple, which wowed the market with its bundle of new service-oriented products this week, suffered its third consecutive week of declines — the first time that’s happened since May 2019, and is now down over 20% from its all time high.
Price action reflects how investors, who have bid up stocks relentlessly since late spring, are now rethinking prospects for a sharp economic rebound in the wake of a still raging COVID-19 pandemic, and no immediate fiscal boost on the table.
As a result, Wall Street economists have become less sanguine about a rescue package, and more pessimistic about growth prospects for the remainder of 2020.
“The prospects for further fiscal stimulus have dimmed further, as another week has gone by without any progress,” Goldman Sachs told clients in a research note on Friday.
“At this point, a major stimulus package before the election looks like a long shot and we expect Congress to leave at the end of September without extending the extra unemployment insurance payment, approving another round of stimulus payments, or providing additional support to small businesses or state and local governments,” the bank added.
Another 860,000 workers filed unemployment claims in the latest period, but that figure remained below 1 million for a third straight week. In another partly encouraging sign, continuing claims — a closely watched metric of the labor market’s health in real time — fell below 13 million. However, new housing starts fell sharply last month, data on Thursday showed, stoking concerns that a hot housing market could be cooling despite record low interest rates.
On Wednesday, the Fed signaled that near-zero interest rates would remain for at least the next three years, as the US economy continues to face risks around the ongoing pandemic.
Economic data has remained surprisingly buoyant in the face of widespread uncertainty stemming from the viral outbreak — the latest of which was September consumer confidence.However, Fed officials suggest that the quicker-than-expected early economic recovery could be jeopardized by the absence of more fiscal support.
And at least for now, Washington’s deadlock means hopes are waning for an eventual agreement that could boost consumers, small businesses and cash-strapped states and localities — which could also undermine growth in the last few months of 2020.
“Failure to pass any additional fiscal measures would likely lead us to downgrade our growth estimates for Q4,” Goldman wrote. “By contrast, enactment of the sort of package that President Trump or Speaker Pelosi have both endorsed would likely lead us to upgrade our view for Q4.”
4:00 p.m. Stocks end rough week on a down note
Here were the main moves in markets as of 4 p.m. ET:
S&P 500 (^GSPC): 3,319.33, -37.68 (-1.12%)
Dow (^DJI): 27,657.29, -244.69 (-0.88%)
Nasdaq (^IXIC): 10,793.28, -116.99 (-1.07%)
2:35 p.m. ET: The rich don’t always get richer
Bloomberg notes that billionaire Ron Perelman has fallen on hard times — well, sort of:
His Gulfstream 650 is on the market. So is his 257-foot yacht. Movers hauled crates of art from his Upper East Side townhouse after he struck a deal with Sotheby’s to sell hundreds of millions of dollars of works.
He’s unloaded his stake in Humvee-maker AM General, sold a flavorings company that he’d owned for decades and hired banks to find buyers for stock he holds in other companies.
What in the world is going on with Ron Perelman? His exploits on and off Wall Street have been tabloid fare in New York since the go-go 1980s. But now, at an age when most fellow billionaires are kicking back, Perelman, 77, is facing a range of financial challenges, most of all at Revlon Inc., his cosmetics giant.
Once touted as America’s richest man, his wealth has dropped from $19 billion to $4.2 billion in the past two years, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
2:30 p.m. ET: Stocks set to end the session at multi-week lows
In the absence of impetus to push markets higher, traders are now testing the downside, with the Dow off by nearly 300 points. Both the Nasdaq and S&P 500 are hunkered at their weakest levels in over a month, as tech stocks can’t seem to shake the blues.
12:30 p.m. ET: Goldman: About those stimulus hopes...
Economists at Goldman Sachs think we shouldn’t hold our breath waiting for new stimulus before the election.
In a somber research note, the bank says the stalemate means an accord “looks like a long shot,” and Congress will most likely adjourn this month without any movement toward a supplemental unemployment payment, or more lifelines to small businesses, states and municipalities:
But wait, there’s more — and it’s not good for this year’s growth prospects:
The outcome of the fiscal debate is likely to mean changes to our forecast for Q4. Our current forecast assumes a $1 trillion package, including partial extension of the extra unemployment benefit and additional PPP loans. Failure to pass any additional fiscal measures would likely lead us to downgrade our growth estimates for Q4. By contrast, enactment of the sort of package that President Trump or Speaker Pelosi have both endorsed would likely lead us to upgrade our view for Q4.
There is still a fairly good chance for additional stimulus, eventually. If Democrats win the White House and both chambers of Congress, we expect them to pass a large fiscal stimulus package, similar to the $2.2 trillion proposal Speaker Pelosi has endorsed, as one of the first orders of business in 2021. This would be in addition to Vice President Biden’s longer-term fiscal expansion plans. Some additional fiscal relief would also be possible under divided government, though the magnitude would likely be much smaller.
12:05 p.m. ET: Stocks fight uphill battle in sluggish session
Here were the main moves in markets as of 12:05.m. ET:
S&P 500 (^GSPC): 3,340.42, -16.59 (-0.49%)
Dow (^DJI): 27,866.02, -35.96 (-0.13%)
Nasdaq (^IXIC): 10,834.54, -75.73 (-0.69%)
Crude (CL=F): $41.17 per barrel, +0.20 (+0.49%)
Gold (GC=F): $1,959.50, +$9.60 (+0.49%)
10-year Treasury (^TNX): flat to yield 0.67200%
11: 45 a.m. ET: Oracle flat as TikTok saga drags on
Oracle’s (ORCL) stock is virtually unchanged on the day near $60, as White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany tells reporters that the Trump administration is still working toward a resolution of the standoff with Chinese-owned TikTok, even as it prepares to block downloads of the service on Sunday.
Meanwhile, interim CEO Vanessa Papas is calling on competing social networks like Facebook (FB) to take up TikTok’s fight against the president’s decision, in the interest of solidarity:
We agree that this type of ban would be bad for the industry. We invite Facebook and Instagram to publicly join our challenge and support our litigation. This is a moment to put aside our competition and focus on core principles like freedom of expression and due process of law.
— Vanessa Pappas (@v_ness) September 18, 2020
10:00 a.m. ET: Consumer confidence gains in September: U.Michigan
Despite the gloomier outlook for September — and still no sign of a new stimulus package — the University of Michigan’s preliminary read on consumer confidence showed that sentiment jumped to 78.9 vs. 74.1 in the prior month. Current economic conditions index rose to 87.5 vs. 82.9 last month, and expectations also gained, to 73.3 vs. 68.5 last month; the highest since March.
According to Capital Economics’ Michael Pearce:
The solid gain in confidence is...slightly at odds with many of the typical drivers of consumer confidence, with stock prices falling and gasoline prices stable so far this month, and we were still braced for some delayed impact from the expiry of additional federal unemployment benefits at the end of July, which we think reduced household incomes by close to 5%. In the event, the rise in consumer confidence could simply reflect a continued improvement in labour market conditions at the beginning of this month.
9:30 a.m. ET: Stocks at breakeven as volatile week ends on a quiet note
Here were the main moves in markets as of 9:30 a.m. ET:
S&P 500 (^GSPC): 3,360.53, +3.52 (+0.10%)
Dow (^DJI): 27,892.00, -9.98 (-0.04%)
Nasdaq (^IXIC): 10,943.29, +33.01 (+0.30%)
Crude (CL=F): $41.03 per barrel, +0.06 (+0.15%)
Gold (GC=F): $1,956.70, +6.80 (+0.35%)
10-year Treasury (^TNX): flat to yield 0.67200%
8:25 a.m. ET: Futures flat, but tech tries for rebound
Here were the main moves in equity markets, as of 8:25 a.m. ET Friday:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,362.25, +0.75 (+0.02%)
Dow futures (YM=F): 27,895.00, -43.00 (-0.15%)
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 11,130.50, +40.50 (+0.37%)
8:00 a.m. ET: Trump moves to block TikTok, WeChat on Sunday
The TikTok saga isn’t over just yet — the Trump administration will ban downloads of the viral video app, along with messaging service WeChat, on Sunday. If carried out, the apps will be blocked from mobile app stores, and makes good on a threat to block the Chinese-owned services based on national security grounds. It also suggests Oracle’s (ORCL) bid to partner with TikTok was insufficient to pass muster with China hawks in the administration.
6:30 p.m. ET Thursday: Stock futures open near the unchanged mark
Here were the main moves in equity markets, as of 6:30 p.m. ET Thursday:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3350.00, flat
Dow futures (YM=F): 27817, flat
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 11075.00, flat