Stock Market

Stocks surge as Nasdaq nears 11K amid coronavirus vaccine progress

U.S. equity markets closed near the highs of the session after drugmakers reported progress in developing a COVID-19 vaccine and as Congress continued to work toward another economic relief package. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 370 points, or 1.4 percent, while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.64 percent and 0.52 percent, respectively. The Nasdaq netted its 31st record-high close of the year and ended just shy of its first close above 11,000. Investors shrugged off dour data on jobs. The ADP report for July showed private employers added 167,000 jobs in July, well short of the 1.5 million that analysts surveyed by Reifintiiv were anticipating. The ADP reading sets the stage for the July jobs report, which is due out on Friday morning. Looking at stocks, Johnson & Johnson reached a more than $1 billion deal with the U.S. government to supply 100 million doses of its Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies’ experimental COVID-19 vaccine for use in the U.S. once regulators approve. A Phase 1 clinical trial of drug maker Novavax, Inc.’s experimental COVID-19 vaccine was generally well-tolerated and induced antibodies in 100 percent of participants. And Moderna noted it has already received multiple orders for its experimental COVID-19 vaccine which will be priced between $32 to $37 for small doses. On the deal front, telehealth marketer Teladoc Inc. has agreed to an $18.5 billion purchase of Livongo Health Inc.; it plans to pay $11.33 cash and 0.592 Teladoc shares for each Livongo share. Looking at earnings, Dow component Walt Disney Co. reported revenue plunged 42 percent in the three months through June as COVID-19 shuttered its theme parks and postponed movie releases. While sales fell short of Wall Street estimates, profit outpaced expectations. CVS Health Corp. reported quarterly profit spiked 54 percent from a year ago as COVID-19 caused people to put off elective medical procedures, helping reduce the company’s medical benefit ratio, or the amount of premium revenue spent on medical care and services. Beyond Meat revenue surged 69 percent as surging retail growth helped offset a shock to the company’s foodservice sales. Still, shares were under pressure as climbing costs led to a deeper loss. Wynn Resorts reported a 95 percent drop in revenue as COVID-19 kept gamblers away from its Las Vegas and Macau casinos. Looking at commodities, gold spiked $29.90 to a record $2,031 an ounce, another new record, while West Texas Intermediate crude oil jumped $0.49 to $42.19 a barrel and settled at the highest level since March. U.S. Treasurys were under modest selling pressure, causing the yield on the 10-year note to climb to 0.541 percent. In Europe, Britain’s FTSE was leading the advance, up 1.14 percent, after U.K. factory output grew at its fastest pace since November 2017. Meanwhile, France’s CAC and Germany’s DAX were higher by 0.9 percent and 0.47 percent, respectively. Asian markets finished mixed, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng adding 0.62 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite gaining 0.17 percent while Japan’s Nikkei slipped 0.26 percent.

Stocks Rise At End of Best Quarter in Decades

Stocks ended June with another move higher, capping the best quarter for the major indexes in decades. The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended up 217 points, 0.85 percent higher. The S&P 500 jumped 1.5 percent. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.87 percent. The Dow ended the second quarter with a 17.8 percent gain, the biggest quarterly gain since 1987. The S&P 500 is up nearly 20 percent, the best quarter since 1998. Nasdaq Composite is up 30.6 percent, the best quarter since 1999. The yield on the 10-year ticked up slightly to 0.658 percent, 0.022 points higher. Oil slipped slightly lower, with West Texas Intermediate crude closing at $39.38 a gallon, 0.86 percent lower, and the global standard Brent Crude falling 1.37 percent. All 11 sectors of the S&P were up for the day. Energy was the best performing sector, followed by health care and consumer discretionary. Utilities, industrials, and consumer staples–sectors that tend to outperform when investors seek to reduce risk–were the laggards.

Definitely some much-needed good news!     🙂

Dow reclaims 27K, Nasdaq nears record as jobs, economy recover

Investors piled into U.S. equities after a surprise jobs report showed the U.S. economy is seeing a faster than expected rebound from its COVID-19 lockdowns. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged 829 points or 3.15 percent, while the S&P 500 jumped 2.62 percent. New economy stocks helped the tech-heavy Nasdaq touch an intraday all-time high of 9,842, but the index closed just under that level with a gain of 2.06 percent. Amazon, Microsoft and Apple, which hit a fresh record, all contributed to the gains lifting the Nasdaq 100 Index. The U.S. economy added 2.51 million jobs in May as the unemployment rate fell to 13.3 percent, according to a report released Friday morning by the Labor Department. Wall Street analysts surveyed by Refinitv were expecting the economy to lose 8 million jobs as the unemployment rate spiked to 19.8 percent. President Trump, who posted an enthusiastic tweet afterward, praised the strength of the U.S. economy in a Rose Garden news conference and said 2021 would be its best year yet. That would also be the first year of Trump’s second term, should he fend off Democratic challenger and former Vice President Joe Biden to win re-election in November. “We’ll go back to having the greatest economy anywhere in the world, nowhere close,” Trump promised. The labor market may see further gains in the month of June after New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday said New York City will begin its Phase 1 reopening on Monday, allowing construction, manufacturing and limited retail services to restart. Looking at stocks, Dow components Goldman Sachs and Home Depot helped drive the gains. Air carriers continued to soar after United Airlines announced plans to reinstate flights to 150 destinations beginning in July. Rival American Airlines announced on Thursday it would increase its flight schedule to 55 percent capacity. Hertz shares surged on the heels of the positive travel updates. The car-rental company filed for bankruptcy on May 22. Other travel-related names, including cruise operators, hotels and booking sites, also outperformed. In retail, embattled department store J.C. Penney is closing 154 sites in 38 states as it reorganizes its business after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last month. On the earnings front, Gap lost nearly $1 billion during the three months through March as the COVID-19 pandemic forced the company to shutter stores. The retailer said 55 percent of its locations have reopened and online sales are strong. Messaging platform Slack, meanwhile, was under pressure as first-quarter revenue growth was little changed despite the majority of Americans working from home. West Texas Intermediate crude oil jumped 5.72 percent to $39.55 per barrel after OPEC and its allies neared a deal to extend production cuts through July. The energy component surged 11 percent this week. Gold fell 2.48 percent to $1,676.20 an ounce on Friday and lost 3.49 percent for the week. U.S. Treasurys remained under pressure, with selling driving the yield on the 10-year note up to 0.903 percent. In Europe, France’s CAC advanced 3.71 percent, Germany’s DAX climbed 3.36 percent and Britain’s FTSE rose 2.25 percent. Asian markets rallied across the board, with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng up 1.66 percent, while Japan’s Nikkei and China’s Shanghai Composite gained 0.74 percent and 0.39 percent, respectively.

Incredibly great news!!  Let’s pray this continues!!       🙂

Dow jumps 527 points with economic rebound in focus

U.S. equity markets secured a fourth straight day of gains Wednesday as investors received better-than-expected news on the jobs front and as the riots and looting that gripped America over the past week showed signs of abating. The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed 527 points, or 2.05 percent closing above 26,000, a key psychological level. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite gained 1.36 percent and 0.78 percent, respectively. Financials, industrials and energy stocks helped drive the gains. West Texas Intermediate crude oil gained 1.3 percent to $37.29 a barrel. Protests following the death of George Floyd continued across the country on Tuesday evening, but there were fewer reports of violence than on previous nights. Meanwhile, the ADP Employment Report released Wednesday morning showed the private sector lost 2.7 million workers in May versus the 9 million job losses that analysts surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting. The report showed 20 million job losses in April. On Friday, the May jobs report will be released. Looking at stocks, gun-related names that had seen big gains over the past few sessions cooled off. Heavily beaten-down airline stocks continued their recent grind higher while cruise operators turned lower. Elsewhere, Tiffany & Co. shares were in focus after fashion trade publication Women’s Wear Daily reported board members of French luxury-goods maker LVMH expressed concerns about its acquisition of the jeweler. Coty and Kim Kardashian West are in talks to collaborate on certain beauty products. The company paid $600 million for a 51 percent stake Kylie Cosmetics, owned by Kardashian West’s half-sister Kylie Jenner, in November. On the earnings front, Zoom Video Communications reported better-than-expected earnings and revenue as the company benefitted from the increase in telecommuting caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The company raised its full-year revenue outlook to between $1.78 billion and $1.8 billion, nearly double its previous forecast of $915 million. Campbell Soup saw first-quarter earnings surge 31 percent as consumers stocked up on canned soup and other non-perishable items to ride out the COVID-19 pandemic from home. Canada Goose warned it expects “negligible” revenue in its fiscal first quarter, a time when online sales reach a low point for the year, due to the uncertainty caused by COVID-19. The company’s fourth-quarter revenue outpaced Wall Street estimates. Looking at metals, gold fell 1.59 percent to $1,697.80 an ounce and U.S. Treasurys were under pressure, pushing the yield on the 10-year note up to 0.679 percent. Germany’s DAX led the advance in Europe, up 3.88 percent, while Britain’s FTSE and France’s CAC were higher by 2.61 percent and 3.36 percent, respectively. Markets gained across Asia with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng up 1.37 percent, Japan’s Nikkei higher by 1.29 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite edging up 0.07 percent.

Much needed good news!  Let’s pray it continues…

Stocks jump for month as oil posts record gain

U.S. equity markets curbed the bulk of their losses Friday after President Trump announced a new wave of crackdown efforts on China, but stopped short of instituting new sanctions or upending the trade deal between the two countries. The Nasdaq led the way, rising 1.29 percent, while the S&P 500 added 0.48 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average slipped fractionally, closing down more than 17 points. All three of the major averages posted weekly and monthly gains. Trump’s new initiatives include limiting some foreign nationals entering the U.S., a working financial markets group to examine Chinese companies listed on U.S. exchanges and the termination of America’s relationship with the World Health Organization. Meanwhile, at least nine states and Washington D.C. eased lockdown restrictions on Friday, with Illinois allowing outdoor seating at bars and restaurants and Michigan letting nonessential medical procedures resume. Washington will now permit outdoor seating at restaurants and the reopening of barber shops as well as curbside pickup and delivery for non-essential retail. Looking at stocks, China-based companies were in focus and social-media companies remained under a watchful eye after the president on Thursday issued an executive order that targets a liability shield, given to tech companies by Congress, if they “engage in censoring or any political conduct.” Trump lashed out against Twitter on Friday, saying the company is “doing nothing about all of the lies & propaganda being put out by China or the Radical Left Democrat Party” while targeting conservatives. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has the option to buy more than 1.6 million shares at $350.02 each — less than half their current price — after the stock’s performance exceeded targets set by the board of directors. Exercising that right would net Musk nearly $800 million. In the tech industry, Dow component Cisco Systems acquired the cybersecurity software firm Thousand Eyes for about $1 billion, according to Bloomberg. On the earnings front, Costco reported mixed fiscal third-quarter results and said global comparable sales fell in April as a result of stay-at-home orders, social distancing and the temporary closure of some locations. Nordstrom said first-quarter sales slumped 40 percent from a year ago as COVID-19 led to the temporary closure of its stores. The company expects all of its stores to be reopened by the end of June. Commodities posted monthly gains with oil rising over 88 percent to $35.49 per barrel, the biggest monthly gain on record, while gold rose to $1,736.90 an ounce. U.S. Treasurys rallied, driving down the yield on the 10-year note to 0.65 percent. European markets were lower across the board, with Britain’s FTSE down 2.29 percent, Germany’s DAX tumbling 1.65 percent and France’s CAC falling 1.59 percent. In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slid 0.74 percent and Japan’s Nikkei lost 0.18 percent while China’s Shanghai Composite added 0.22 percent.

Stocks surge as reopening America gathers steam

U.S. equity markets rallied sharply Wednesday morning as investor optimism grew over plans to reopen America. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 348 points, or 1.39 percent, in the opening minutes of trading while the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite rose 0.95 percent and 0.12 percent, respectively. The benchmark S&P 500 ended Tuesday’s session 12 percent below its all-time high set in February while the Nasdaq finished within 5 percent of its peak. At least two states eased lockdown restrictions, with Colorado allowing limited in-person dining at restaurants and Minnesota letting places of worship open to 25 percent capacity. Additionally, Kansas and Nevada on Tuesday evening announced further relaxing of their restrictions. The social and economic momentum boosted airlines, cruise operators and other travel-related names for a second straight day. Meanwhile, social-media companies were in focus after Twitter added a “fact check” of President Trump’s tweets for the first time on Tuesday evening. The president responded by saying, on Twitter, that the company is “stifling free speech” and that he “won’t allow it to happen.” Dow component Boeing will lay off 2,500 workers this week, as the jet maker works toward its previously announced goal of reducing its labor force by 10 percent. On the earnings front, Ralph Lauren lost $249 million in its fiscal fourth-quarter as the COVID-19 pandemic and Hong Kong protests had an adverse impact on business. While the apparel-maker’s loss was bigger than Wall Street analysts expected, sales of $1.27 billion outpaced estimates. Domino’s Pizza reported U.S. same-store sales surged 14 percent in the months of April and May. International sales edged up 1 percent over the same period. Rival pizza chain Papa John’s reported North American same-store sales soared a record 33.5 percent in May. Global revenue climbed 7 percent. Elsewhere, electric-vehicle maker Tesla announced price reductions for vehicles in North America and China as demand waned in the wake of COVID-19. The size of the price reductions are not yet known. Chinese rival Nio was upgraded to neutral and its price target raised to $3.50 from $2 at J.P. Morgan, ahead of the company’s quarterly earnings report, which is expected on Thursday. West Texas Intermediate crude oil slid 1.25 percent to $33.92 per barrel and gold sank 1.39 percent to $1,704 an ounce. U.S. Treasurys fell, pushing the yield on the 10-year note up 2 basis points to 0.718 percent. In Europe, France’s CAC gained 2.09 percent, Germany’s DAX climbed 1.68 percent and Britain’s FTSE rallied 1.45 percent. Asian markets ended mixed, with Japan’s Nikkei up 0.7 percent while China’s Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.34 percent and 0.36 percent, respectively.

This is the second day in a row of great news on Wall Street!  Let’s hope the Great American Comeback is underway!!      🙂

Senate passes bill removing rogue Chinese firms from US stock exchanges

The U.S. Senate has passed a bill boosting oversight of companies based in China and other nations that could lead to their removal from American stock exchanges. The vote on the measure, introduced more than a year ago by Sens. John Kennedy, R-La., and Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., comes as Congress and the Trump administration seek ways to punish Beijing for its initial handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. First identified in the Chinese province of Wuhan, the disease has infected 4.9 million people and killed more than 324,000. Efforts to curb its spread have halted global growth and sent unemployment in the U.S. spiking to nearly 15 percent, the highest since the Great Depression. The legislation’s focus on Chinese stocks stems from pre-virus concerns that Chinese firms listed on America’s exchanges are currently not subject to the same investor protection rules and accounting standards as U.S. companies, leaving small retail investors facing a higher risk of fraud. The bill, which passed on Wednesday, says that if the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board — a nonprofit established by Congress after the WorldCom and Enron scandals of the early 2000s — is denied access to a foreign stock issuer’s books for three years, the Securities and Exchange Commission will prohibit trading in the shares on U.S. exchanges. The legislation tells all the companies in the world that “if you want to list on an American exchange, you have to submit an audit and the SEC has the right to look at that audit, and audit the audit,” Kennedy said on the Senate floor. “And if you refuse not once, not twice, but three times — if over a three-year period, each of those three years, the company says, ‘You cannot audit my audit,’ then they can no longer be listed.” To become law, the measure titled the Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act would still have to be approved by the Democratically-controlled House of Representatives and signed by the president. “After a decade of pounding the tables on the issue of China companies defrauding U.S. investors, we are encouraged to see this bill pass the Senate and we hope it becomes law,” Carson Block, short-seller and founder of Muddy Waters Research, told FOX Business in an emailed statement. “By listing in the U.S., these companies have ready access to U.S. retail investors’ money, and so long as China effectively remains a rogue country for U.S. securities regulation, its companies should not have access to our markets.” Fradulent listings of Chinese companies on U.S. markets have cost investors billions of dollars over the past decade. There were 156 Chinese companies listed on U.S. Exchanges worth $1.2 trillion as of Feb. 25, 2019, according to the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. Just this week, Luckin Coffee, the Xiamen, China-based beverage chain, received a delisting notice from Nasdaq after the company’s chief operating officer was found last month to have fabricated as much as $310 million in sales in 2019. Luckin shares debuted on the Nasdaq at $17 apiece on May 16, 2019, and reached a high of $50.02 on January 17, valuing the Starbucks challenger at as much as $12.02 billion. Its value had plummeted to below $700 million on Wednesday. China just needs to be “responsible and there needs to be no double standards,” Sen. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., told FOX Business’ Neil Cavuto on Wednesday. “If a U.S. company has to meet certain requirements and auditing to be on the New York Stock Exchange, shouldn’t we ask that of Chinese companies as well?”

Kudos to the Senate for FINALLY passing this important piece of legislation.  Now it goes to the Dem-controlled House…and God only knows what’ll happen with it there…

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.

Stocks Jump Higher And Close In On Best Month Since 1974

The U.S. stock market is a day away from having its best month since 1974. The optimism helped the S&P 500 jump 2.66 percent higher, and it extended a rally that’s brought the U.S. stock market to the brink of its best month in 45 years. The S&P 500 has surged more than 15 percent in April, putting it within one day of its best month since its 16.3 percent gain in October 1974. Over the past 12 months, the S&P is down 2.6 percent. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 2.2 percent. The Nasdaq Composite climbed 3.57 percent. The small-cap Russell 2000 soared 4.83 percent. Stocks in Europe also jumped immediately after Gilead Sciences said its experimental drug proved effective against the new coronavirus in a major U.S. government study. The French CAC 40 rose 2.2 percent after being down before the Gilead report. The German DAX returned 2.9 percent, and the FTSE 100 in London added 2.6 percent. Gilead’s report hit markets at the same moment that a report showed how pervasive and painful the hit has been to the economy from the coronavirus outbreak. The U.S. economy shrank at a 4.8 percent annual rate in the first three months of the year, its worst performance since the depths of the financial crisis in 2008. The figure was worse than investors were expecting, and it’s “merely the tip of the iceberg,” said Michael Reynolds, investment strategy officer at Glenmede. Job losses have exploded since early April, as layoffs sweep the nation following widespread stay-at-home orders, and economists expect to see even worse numbers for the second quarter of the year. But stocks have been rallying over the last month as investors look beyond the current economic devastation and focus instead on the prospect of economies gradually reopening. Stocks initially moved higher afternoon trading after the Federal Reserve issued a statement saying it plans to keep its key interest rate near zero for the foreseeable future but quickly gave up those additional gains. The central bank also reaffirmed its commitment to using its full range of tools to support the U.S. economy through its near-paralysis caused by efforts to stem the spread of the outbreak. Some U.S. states and nations around the world have laid out plans to relax restrictions keeping people at home and businesses bereft of customers. A drug treatment for COVID-19, meanwhile, could help life inch a little closer to “normal.” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, called the results on Gilead’s remdesivir drug optimistic and said details will be submitted to a scientific journal. COVID-19 has killed more than 218,000 worldwide. But what got the nearly 32 percent rally for the S&P 500 started on March 24 was massive aid from the Federal Reserve and Congress. Investors will be watching closely during an afternoon news conference by Fed Chairman Jerome Powell for clues about how long the Fed will keep in place its unprecedented efforts to prop up the economy. Small stocks got punished much more than the rest of the market when recession worries were at their height due to their more limited financial resources. But they can soar higher when pessimism is receding. The market’s gains were widespread and accelerated through the day. Big tech and communications stocks helped lead the way after Google’s parent company said its revenue was stronger in the first three months of the year than Wall Street was expecting. In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.3 percent, and the Kospi in Seoul advanced 0.7 percent. Many professional investors are skeptical of the U.S. stock market’s big rally. There’s still a lot of uncertainty about how long the recession will last. The vigorous rise for stocks over the last month also implies investors see a relatively quick rebound for the economy and profits following the current devastation. But it may take a while for households and businesses to get back to how things used to be. Fed chair Powell said Wednesday that the “chances are” the economy would not rebound very quickly because people will be reluctant to return to their pre-pandemic activities until they are confident that the virus is fully under control. The yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury rose to 0.624 percent from 0.61 percent late Tuesday. Yields tend to rise when investors think the economy will be stronger than earlier expected or that inflation will be higher. Oil prices are continuing their extreme swings after a collapse in demand has sent crude storage tanks close to their limits. Benchmark U.S. oil rose 23.6 percent to $15.26 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, rose 12 percent to $22.93 per barrel.

Stocks surge on Fed’s $2.3T stimulus

U.S. equity markets rallied Thursday after the Federal Reserve’s plan to provide $2.3 trillion in lending to households and businesses overshadowed a surge in jobless claims. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 285 points, or 1.22 percent, narrowly missing gains that would have registered the index’s best week since 1938. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were higher by 1.45 percent and 0.77 percent, respectively. U.S. financial markets are closed Friday in observance of Good Friday. The benchmark S&P 500 on Wednesday exited its bear market that began on March 12, making it the second shortest in history. The Fed’s latest initiative undergirds government efforts to combat fallout from the economic shutdown imposed to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, White House Advisor Larry Kudlow told FOX Business the plan to re-open the U.S. economy in “4 to 8 weeks” remains on track. Thursday’s gains were hampered by initial jobless claims totaling 6.6 million for the week ended April 4, outpacing the 5.25 million that economists surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting. The report raises the total number of first-time filings to 16.6 million amid disruptions including factory idlings and store closings caused by COVID-19. Oil plunged after Russia and Saudi Arabia failed to announce a deal to reduce output after reports out earlier in the session said there was an agreement in principle that could reduced production by up to 20 million barrels per day. West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the U.S. benchmark, was fell 9.29 percent at $22.76 a barrel, putting pressure on shares of energy companies. Disney announced the number of subscribers for its streaming service, Disney+, has nearly doubled since the beginning of February to more than 50 million. Rival Netflix has more than 160 million subscribers. Costco reported sales rose 11.7 percent to $15.5 billion in the five weeks through April 5. General Electric told investors its first-quarter results would fall short of its prior guidance and pulled its full-year outlook due to uncertainty caused by COVID-19. Starbucks warned late Wednesday that it sees second-quarter adjusted earnings falling 46 percent to 32 cents a share. The coffee giant said same-store sales plunged by as much as 70 percent during the last week of March as COVID-19-related shutdowns spread. Carnival Corp. gained for a fourth straight day after Saudi Arabia announced an 8 percent stake in the embattled cruise operator. Elsewhere, gold for April delivery spiked 6.27 percent to $1,736.20 an ounce, the highest level since November 2012, giving a lift to miners Barrick Gold and Newmont Corporation. U.S. Treasurys rose, pushing the yield on the 10-year note down to 0.722 percent. In Europe, Britain’s FTSE and Germany’s DAX rose 1 percent and 0.37 percent, respectively, while France’s CAC inched up 0.08 percent. In Asia, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng climbed 1.38 percent after the government announced an $18.8 billion stimulus package. Elsewhere, China’s Shanghai Composite added 0.37 percent and Japan’s Nikkei slipped 0.04 percent.