S&P 500 Positive

S&P 500 Closes Positive: US China Tensions Lesson & America Re-Opens

US markets gained on continued reopening hopes. California Governor Gavin Newsom said retail stores could begin to reopen Friday, easing lockdown measures in an important domestic economy.

Tensions with China also cooled, after White House officials said the U.S. isn’t looking to introduce punitive measures against China as long as it honors its trade commitment. Markit Services PMI for April fell below estimates, driven by weakness in new orders and employment. There continues to be more talk of a Phase 4 stimulus package. Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech announced the first participants in their COVID-19 vaccine trial.

The top sectors today were health care, technology, and utilities. Regeneron (REGN) led the health care sector on a strong first-quarter earnings report. The sector also got a boost from Pfizer’s (PFE) announcement of the first patients in the coronavirus vaccine trial. IPG Photonics (IPGP) buoyed technology stocks after blowing away first-quarter estimates and boosting its stock repurchase plan.

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The worst performing sectors were consumer staples, financials, and materials. Staples underperformed as a defensive sector. Sysco (SYY) weighed on the sector after missing third-quarter earnings. Norwegian Cruise Lines (NCLH) fell after filing a 10-K where management expressed doubts over the company’s ability to continue operations. Hertz (HTZ) tumbled on reports that it hired another restructuring adviser.

In the S&P 500, ten of the 11 sectors finished higher.

The leading sectors were Health Care +2.15%, Technology +1.42%, and Utilities +0.93%.

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The laggards were Financials -0.07%, Consumer Staples +0.13%, and Energy +0.26%.

Oil +20.40% continued to rise on demand hopes as more states began releasing reopening plans.

Gold +0.19% was mixed on the day.

Bitcoin +0.50% continued to rise in anticipation of the “halving.”

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