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Market Updates

DOWNSIDE RISK REMAINS

Stocks fell last week, and many blamed the drop on high stock valuations, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s gloomy outlook, and rising US-China tensions. Perhaps investors also are increasingly skeptical about prospects for a smooth V-shaped recovery. Regardless, stocks may have been due for a pullback after gains in late March through April and could potentially have further to fall.

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TIME FOR A PAUSE?

Stocks have had a historic run amid increasingly negative headlines. Historically, stocks have tended to lead the economy, and while a second-half rebound may be likely, some equity weakness over the coming months is also possible. The historically worst six months of the year have officially started, and combined with technical warnings, that suggests stocks may take a well-deserved break soon.

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BIG NEWS AND NEW FORECASTS

The last week of April was a big news week. A very weak first quarter GDP highlighted a busy economic calendar. Investors digested a flurry of earnings reports, including some of the biggest names, such as Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft. Gilead Sciences released promising test results for a COVID-19 treatment, a positive step in potentially limiting the human and economic impact of the virus as some states began to reopen their economies. Finally, we heard from three major global central banks.

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WHAT HAPPENED TO OIL

Negative oil prices have dominated headlines recently. A combination of oversupply, lack of demand, and a lack of storage capacity resulted in temporarily negative oil prices, where holders of a futures contract were paying others to take delivery of oil for them. We explore what happened, what it means for the world market, and where oil prices could ultimately be headed.

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IS THE EARNINGS BAR LOW ENOUGH?

This earnings season will be unlike any other, as travel restrictions and lockdowns related to COVID-19 have impacted results dramatically.The biggest economic hits came in mid-March, however, and won’t be fully captured in first quarter results. This makes company guidance particularly important as market participants look for clues into what earnings may look like for the rest of the year.

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