U.S. major stock indexes fell in Wednesday trading as new data from the Commerce Department and Federal Reserve indicated a collapse in manufacturing output and retail sales.
However, the declines did not completely erase yesterday’s gains in another sign that U.S. investors and corporations may be better positioned to withstand the economic shocks caused by the COVID-19 epidemic than most of the employees of the same businesses.
The numbers coming from the Commerce Department were especially grim. The value of U.S. retail sales have fallen 8.7% over the last month. That’s the biggest decline on record, dating back to 1992. Factory production had its worst month since the end of World War II. Output from factories fell a stunning 6.3% in March.
Market declines could have been worse, given the extent of the bad news coming from the industrial and retail sector. Perhaps investors were buoyed by the knowledge that stimulus checks could begin rolling out soon (if the addition of the president’s signature doesn’t slow down their release).
- Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 1.86% to 23,504.35, a decline of 445.41 points
- S&P 500 tumbled 2.20% to 2,783.36, a loss of 62.70 points
- Nasdaq fell 1.44% to 8,393.18, shedding 122.56 points
While the major indices fell, a collection of SaaS and cloud stocks actually posted gains on the day.
As TechCrunch reported this morning, the Dow and its peers are up a little under 30% from lows, though they remain under recent, record highs. So the markets are somewhat parked between their prior optimism, and more recent pessimism. No one is sure what’s going to happen next, perhaps.
But while the stock market might be a mixed-message, Amazon, a famous tech company, reached an all-time share price high today. Closing the day worth $2,307.68 per share, Seattle’s e-commerce and computing giant closed the day up just over 1%. In a down market, Amazon was the day’s obvious standout.