Stocks surge as economic recovery hopes put record unemployment in the rearview mirror

U.S. equity markets rallied Friday despite historic job losses as states forged ahead with reopening plans and investors focus on an economic rebound that could take hold in the coming months. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained over 455 points, or 1.91 percent, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.69 percent and 1.58 percent, respectively. All three of the major averages posted weekly gains while the Nasdaq registered its longest winning streak, five days, of the year. The U.S. economy lost 20.5 million jobs in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as non-essential businesses at least temporarily closed their doors to help slow the spread of COVID-19. At 14.7 percent, the unemployment rate was the highest since the Great Depression. Some of those workers may soon be back on the job, however. At least 10 U.S. states on Friday are taking steps to reopen their economies, with California allowing retail stores to unlock their doors and Texas letting barbershops and salons to get back to work. Looking at stocks, Ford Motor Company plans to begin a phased production and operations restart in North America on May 18. Elsewhere, Walt Disney’s Shanghai theme park sold out for Monday’s reopening. The park will reopen at 30 percent capacity. Macy’s postponed the release of its first-quarter results until July 1 as the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the preparation of financial statements. The department store typically reports performance for its January-through-March period in mid-May. Uber lost $2.9 billion, or $1.70 a share, as non-essential travel ground to a halt at the end of the quarter. Ride bookings fell 3 percent while Uber Eats deliveries surged 52 percent. Meanwhile, rival Lyft reported that revenue jumped 23 percent as active ridership reached 21.1 million. Digital streaming-device maker Roku’s net loss widened to $54.6 million, or 45 cents per share, as the company spent more to attract subscribers. West Texas Intermediate crude oil climbed over 5 percent to $24.74 a barrel. For the week gains hit 25 percent the largest one week jump since early April. Gold was little changed at $1,709 an ounce and U.S. Treasurys were little changed, with the yield on the 10-year note settling at 0.679 percent. In Europe, Britain’s FTSE gained 1.4 percent, Germany’s DAX climbed 1..35 percent and France’s CAC advanced 1.07 percent. Markets rallied across Asia, with Japan’s Nikkei up 2.56 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng adding 1.04 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite gaining 0.83 percent.

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