Market Overview

Mid-Afternoon Market Update: Crude Oil Rises 5%; ProAssurance Shares Plummet


Toward the end of trading Friday, the Dow traded up 1.43% to 24216.61 while the NASDAQ rose 1.2% to 9087.09. The S&P also rose, gaining 1.30% to 2,918.61.

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 3.4% on Friday. Meanwhile, top gainers in the sector included CONSOL Energy Inc. (NYSE: CEIX), up 21%, and Peabody Energy Corporation (NYSE: BTU), up 32%.

In trading on Friday, health care shares rose by just 0.3%.

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 55% to $4.95 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 92% to $14.88. 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.

Fuel Tech, Inc. (NASDAQ: FTEK) shares were also up, gaining 98% to $0.9299 after the company reported FUEL CHEM® demonstration orders from two new industrial power customers.

Equities Trading DOWN

ProAssurance Corporation (NYSE: PRA) shares tumbled 21% to $16.08 after reporting results for its first quarter.

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

Genius Brands International, Inc. (NASDAQ: GNUS) was down, falling 35% to $0.5404 after the company priced an 8 million share offering at $0.35 per share.


In commodity news, oil traded up 5.1% to $24.76, while gold traded down 1% to $1,708.90.

Silver traded up 1% Friday to $15.75, while copper rose 1.1% to $2.4065.

Euro zone

European shares closed higher today. The eurozone’s STOXX 600 gained 0.91%, the Spanish Ibex Index rose 0.78%, while Italy’s FTSE MIB Index rose 1.13%. Meanwhile, the German DAX gained 1.35%, and the French CAC 40 rose 1.07% 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 total number of active U.S. oil rigs slipped by 33 to 292 rigs this week, Baker Hughes Inc reported.


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