Dow Jones Ticks Higher Despite Historic April Unemployment Report

The Dow Jones is pushing higher today as markets digest one of the worst jobs reports in the history of the country. The U.S. Labor Department reported that the U.S. economy lost 20.5 million jobs in April, the highest figure in history. The unemployment rate increased from 4.4% to 14.7%.

Hospitality, retail, and manufacturing sectors also reported large declines in employment due to COVID-19. More on these figures below. Here's everything moving the Dow today.

First, the numbers from Thursday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:

Index Previous Close Point Change Percentage Change
Dow Jones 23,875.89 +211.25 +0.89
S&P 500 2,881.19 +32.77 +1.15
Nasdaq 8,979.66 +125.27 +1.41

Now, let's take a look at the most important market events to start your day.

The Top Stock Market Stories for Friday

  • Thursday was a bit more productive for U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin than the previous day. Rather than get into a Twitter war with Guns N' Roses front man Axl Rose (which he did two days ago), Mnuchin spoke with China's Vice Premier. He and U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer discussed COVID-19 and progress on the trade deal that both sides signed in January. He said that he expects both sides "to meet their obligations" despite the ongoing pandemic.

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  • Johns Hopkins University reports that global coronavirus cases topped 3.8 million on Friday. While cases continue to abate in hot spots like New York City and Detroit, the virus continues to spread across various areas of the country - particularly on the East Coast.
  • Today, states across the U.S. will continue to reopen their economies. In California, retailers that sell books, sporting goods, and clothing can offer curbside pickup. Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA), which owns a production facility in the state, told its employees that it plans to restart operations on a limited basis. Meanwhile, its rivals, General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV (NASDAQ: FCAU), plan to reopen production facilities in Michigan on Monday. Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) also announced it plans to restart North American operations on May 18.

Stocks to Watch Today: RUTH, M, CLXD

  • Shares of Ruth's Hospitality Group Inc. (NASDAQ: RUTH), the parent company of Ruth's Chris Steak House - fell 2.8% this morning. The company fell well short of earnings expectations before the bell, reporting an adjusted EPS of $0.09. Wall Street had expected EPS of $0.29. The coronavirus has hammered restaurants across the country. Curbside pickup and delivery were not enough to help the firm succeed this quarter. The company will likely address the criticism it faced for accepting small business loan money from the government during its conference call today.
  • Macy's Inc. (NYSE: M) announced plans to delay its earnings call until July 1. The embattled retailer has struggled to prepare its financial reports due to the ongoing outbreak of coronavirus. The firm is traditionally one of the first major retailers to report its quarterly numbers in early May.
  • One of the great mysteries of the ongoing COVID crisis is the lack of disinfectant wipes across the United States. Clorox Co. (NYSE: CLX) announced this week that it won't be able to replenish supplies and meet demand until later this summer. The same goes for Reckitt Benckiser, the company behind the Lysol brand.

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About the Author

Garrett Baldwin is a globally recognized research economist, financial writer, consultant, and political risk analyst with decades of trading experience and degrees in economics, cybersecurity, and business from Johns Hopkins, Purdue, Indiana University, and Northwestern.

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