Global stocks moved lower over the week as the impact of COVID-19 continues to reverberate. The S&P 500 was down 2.1% and the Dow fell 2.7% over the week. Abroad, the FTSE All World Ex US declined 2.2% for the week. Oil surged gaining nearly 32% over the week on hopes of production cuts. Oil ended the week at $28.34 a barrel. Investors continued to move to safe haven assets with the 10-year Treasury yield falling to 0.59%.
The president expanding social distancing guidelines through the end of April, limiting the ability of business it open back up for another month.
Business surveys showed factory activity contracted across the globe in March with the lone exception being China as it began to emerge from the stranglehold of the coronavirus. Activity in the US contracted but was better than projected by economists.
US auto sales sank in March as buyers stayed home and dealers closed.
A record 6.6 million people filed for unemployment benefits last week indicating that 6% of US workers have lost their jobs in the last two weeks.
US employers cut more jobs in March than in any month since the Financial Crisis. There were 701,000 jobs cut in March and the unemployment rate moved from 3.5% in February to 4.4% in March. However, due to the timing of the reading the results likely don’t reflect the full extent of the recent job cuts.
Purchasing managers indexes for the services sector in Europe fell to their lowest level ever.
The Bank of China cut the reserve ratio required for small and mid-sized banks and lowered rates for commercial banks excess reserves to 0.35% from 0.72% to help stimulate the economy.