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Market Overview

Mid-Morning Market Update: Markets Open Higher; U.S. Unemployment Rate Surges To 14.7%


Following the market opening Friday, the Dow traded up 1.37% to 24203.78 while the NASDAQ rose 0.99% to 9,068.42. The S&P also rose, gaining 1.19% to 2,915.47.

The U.S. is the new epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic with the highest number of cases and deaths around the world. U.S. reported a total of 1,256,970 coronavirus cases with around 75,670 deaths. Spain confirmed a total of over 221,440 coronavirus cases with 26,070 deaths, while Italy reported a total of at least 215,850 confirmed cases and 29,950 deaths. In total, there were at least 3,864,690 cases of COVID-19 worldwide with over 270,020 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

Energy shares climbed by 2.6% on Friday. Meanwhile, top gainers in the sector included Overseas Shipholding Group, Inc. (NYSE: OSG), up 9%, and Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE: BTU), up 16%.

In trading on Friday, health care shares rose by just 0.5%.

Top Headline

The U.S. unemployment rate spiked from 4.4% in March to 14.7% in April, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which is the highest level since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Nonfarm payrolls contracted by 20.5 million workers — significantly more than March’s contraction of 701,000 but less than forecasts for 22 million. The labor force participation rate fell 2.5 percentage points to 60.2% — the lowest rate in 33 years — while the employment-population ratio fell from 60% to 51.3% for its largest monthly decline since 1948.


Equities Trading UP

Everspin Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: MRAM) shares shot up 60% to $5.13 after the company reported better-than-expected Q1 results and issued Q2 guidance above estimates.

Shares of Protagonist Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: PTGX) got a boost, shooting 51% to $11.71. Protagonist reported initial Phase 2 results with hepcidin mimetic PTG-300 as a treatment for the polycythemia vera. The company posted a quarterly loss of $0.72 per share.

PRA Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: PRAA) shares were also up, gaining 35% to $35.05 after the company reported better-than-expected Q1 results. JMP Securities upgraded PRA Group from Market Perform to Market Outperform.

Equities Trading DOWN

AG Mortgage Investment Trust, Inc. (NASDAQ: MITT) shares tumbled 27% to $2.035 after the company issued a business update.

Shares of Hill International, Inc. (NYSE: HIL) were down 25% to $1.66 after the company reported Q1 results.

GTT Communications, Inc. (NYSE: GTT) was down, falling 17% to $8.87 after the company reported downbeat Q1 results.


In commodity news, oil traded up 1.5% to $23.90, while gold traded up 0.1% to $1,727.50.

Silver traded up 1.1% Friday to $15.765, while copper rose 1.5% to $2.4165.

Euro zone

European shares were higher today. The eurozone’s STOXX 600 gained 0.7%, the Spanish Ibex Index rose 0.3%, while Italy’s FTSE MIB Index rose 0.6%. Meanwhile, the German DAX gained 1.1%, and the French CAC 40 rose 0.8% while UK shares rose 1.4%.


The U.S. unemployment rate spiked from 4.4% in March to 14.7% in April, while nonfarm payrolls contracted by 20.5 million workers.

U.S. wholesale inventories dropped 0.8% in March, versus an initial estimate of a 1% decline.

The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the recent week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.


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