NEW YORK: US stocks eked out modest weekly gains as investors digested a slew of key economic data while grappling with fears of a resurgence in coronavirus infections across the country. For the week ending Friday, the Dow rose 1 per cent, the S&P 500 gained 1.9 per cent and the Nasdaq climbed 3.7 per cent, Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.
The S&P US Listed China 50 index, which is designed to track the performance of the 50 largest Chinese companies listed on US exchanges by total market cap, logged a weekly advance of 7 percent.
High volatility returned to Wall Street as many investors were still skeptical as to when and if the markets would recover. A spike in new coronavirus cases in several US states has raised questions about a swift economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
More than 2.2 million confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported in the United States, with over 119,000 deaths, as of Saturday afternoon, according to the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.
“The volatile stock market, record unemployment, and uncertainty about the future are all driving investor fear and panic,” analysts at Zacks Investment Management said in a note.
Market sentiment was somewhat mixed as the week featured a disappointing US weekly jobless report and better-than-anticipated May retail sales data. US initial jobless claims registered 1.508 million in the week ending June 13, down slightly from an upwardly revised 1.566 million in the prior week, the Department of Labor reported Thursday. Economists polled by Dow Jones had expected 1.3 million initial claims for the week.
“It marks 11 consecutive weeks of declines in the claims rate, but suggest claims are leveling off at a level never seen before the Lockdown Recession,” Chris Low, chief economist at FHN Financial, said in a note on Thursday.
US retail sales soared 17.7 per cent in May, following a revised 14.7 per cent slump in April, the US Department of Commerce reported on Tuesday. The reading exceeded market consensus. “Due to recent events surrounding COVID-19, many businesses are operating on a limited capacity or have ceased operations completely,” the department said in a statement.
Investors also digested the US Federal Reserve’s latest measures to support market liquidity amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The Fed said Monday it would begin buying individual corporate bonds under its Secondary Market Corporate Credit Facility.