Friday, March 27, 2020 – Stocks pulled back on Friday from their best three-day winning streak since the 1930s, as investors continued to assess the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak. Sentiment dampened after the U.S. surpassed China as the country with the most COVID-19 cases, with New York reporting more than 7,000 new infections. Equities attempted to pare losses after the House quickly passed the $2 trillion stimulus package, but the sell-off deepened after the Fed announced it would slow Treasury purchases next week. The Dow fell 915 points, but managed to notch its best week since 1938 with a 12.8% gain. The S&P 500 fell 3.4%, but rose 10.3% for the week. The Nasdaq Composite slipped 3.8%, trimming its weekly advance to 9.1%.
Ten of 11 S&P 500 sectors ended in negative territory, with the Utilities group the lone advancer. The Energy sector led decliners with a 6.9% retreat as WTI crude prices notched a fifth straight week of losses. Industrials also lagged with Boeing falling 10.1% after Treasury Secretary Mnuchin noted the company would not be using federal funds. In earnings, Lululemon lost 5.6% after failing to provide full-year guidance for 2020, saying online sales growth will not offset store closures.
On the data front, the core PCE deflator, which is the Fed’s preferred proxy of inflation, rose 1.8% year-over-year in February. Separately, a report from the University of Michigan showed March consumer sentiment tumbled to its lowest level since October 2016. Treasuries advanced, with the yield on the 10-year note down 14 basis points to 0.68%.
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