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S&P 500 set for worst first quarter since 1938


Wall Street was set to open lower on Tuesday, with the S&P 500 headed for its worst first quarter since 1938 as evidence grew of the scale of the damage caused by the collapse in oil prices and business activity due to the coronavirus. Technology firms Apple Inc (AAPL.O) and Microsoft Inc (MSFT.O) fell in premarket trading after a recent rally that was spurred by investors looking for stocks likely to withstand an economic hit. Confidence in equity markets had crept back in the past week, thanks to an unprecedented $10 trillion global monetary and fiscal stimulus, but Wall Street’s indicator of future volatility is still close to levels last seen in 2008. “There is still uncertainty so it’s hard to say that we’re right back to going ‘risk on’ here,” said Jack Janasiewicz, portfolio manager at Natixis Investment Managers Solutions in Massachusetts. “It wouldn’t be surprising if we get a little bit of weakness in the markets over the next couple of weeks and re-test or break the lows.” Sliding from the record highs of mid February, the Dow Jones and S&P 500 indexes are now set to end the quarter more than 18% lower from the start of the year as the health crisis deepens in the United States and disrupts supply chains.

31 March 2020


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