U.S. Stock ETFs Strengthen on Hopes of an Economy Turning Around

U.S. markets and stock exchange traded funds rallied Thursday on signs of slowing new jobless claims while strong earnings reports further supported the risk-on sentiment.

On Thursday, the Invesco QQQ Trust (NASDAQ: QQQ) was up 1.1%, SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (NYSEArca: DIA) gained 0.7%, and SPDR S&P 500 ETF (NYSEArca: SPY) rose 1.1%.

Initial jobless claims for the week ended May 2 was 3.2 million, raising the total applications since mid-March to over 33 million, but market observers optimistically pointed out that the number of new claims each week is steadily falling since surpassing 6 million over the last week of March, the Wall Street Journal reports.

“Although the U.S. jobless claims number is a very large number, I think people, investors, were relieved to see it wasn’t even larger,” John Conlon, director of equity strategies at People’s United Advisors, told the WSJ.

Investors are now watching out for the monthly jobs report due Friday, which is expected to show the coronavirus pandemic triggered the largest one-month blow on record to the labor market.

Meanwhile, the government is pushing for reopening the economy as health authorities cautioned against moving too quickly.

“What you’re really trading and thinking about is the recovery: Is it going to be a swift recovery or is the recovery going to be much longer than that?” Justin Onuekwusi, head of retail multi-asset funds at Legal & General Investment Management, told the WSJ. “It’s clear the market seems to be pricing in scenario one.”

Additionally, positive earnings reports have strengthened confidence. For instance, PayPal Holdings after a positive outlook on expectations of a strong recovery in payment volumes in the second quarter in response to increased online shopping from stay-at-home consumers. Additionally, ViacomCBS and Lyft also surged on an improving outlook, Reuters reports.

“You are seeing incrementally some parts of the global economy opening up again plus slightly better earnings,” Eric Freedman, chief investment officer at U.S. Bank Wealth Management, told Reuters.

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