Bellevue Perspectives

Monday Minute

  • The market got a boost Thursday of last week thanks to a spike in oil on hopes of a production cut by Saudi Arabia and Russia.  President Trump announced the news and Saudi state media confirmed it was calling an emergency meeting of oil producers.  WTI jumped roughly 24% on the news to $24.75/barrel.  If successful, it will take away a small stimulus for those of us who consume their product but should help the domestic oil producers and their employees.  Crude-oil prices slid more than 4% today on reports that Russia and Saudi Arabia had postponed their oil-production meeting to Thursday, casting doubt on a deal.
  • Also on Thursday, before the opening bell, the Department of Labor reported that initial jobless claims for the week ending March 28 were an astonishing 6.6483 million (the highest reading on record), an increase of 3.341 million from the previous week’s revised level of 3.307 million (revised up from 3.283 million), and well above expectations for 3.7 million claims.  On the release the Department of Labor noted, “The Covid-19 virus continues to impact the number of initial claims. Nearly every state providing comments cited the Covid-19 virus. States continued to identify increases related to the services industries broadly, again led by accommodation and food services.
  • Markets rally today on positive news from the earliest hit states, including our own.  Investors were encouraged by data that shows a slowing in the number of daily U.S. coronavirus cases and signs of stabilization in hospital rates. We have also seen a slowing increase in death rates and new infections in the hardest-hit countries, such as Italy and Spain, which has sparked some positive momentum in global equities as well.  It is still early to determine a lasting trend however and economic data will surely get worse. Cautious optimism feels good nonetheless.

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