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S&P 500 logs best week since 1974: April 9, 2020
US stocks finished higher on Friday, buoyed by a new $2.3 trillion Federal Reserve program to support the economy through the coronavirus crisis.
With exchanges closed for Good Friday tomorrow, that concludes this trading week.
With less than one hour to go in the trading day, stocks remain mostly in the green but are off their earlier highs garnered after the Fed announced a new $2.3 trillion round of loans.
The Nasdaq Composite even briefly turned negative. The tech-heavy index was last up 0.3%.
Even so, the shortened week is looking good for the three indexes, all of which are set to log a weekly gain.
It's a good day to be an investor in corporate junk bonds.
The Federal Reserve announced today that it will purchase high yield bonds and high yield bond ETFs as part of its latest action to support the US economy through the coronavirus crisis. Its commitment sparked the rally.
Sub-investment grade bond are rated less than BBB-/Baa3. Their issuers are less credit worthy than those with more highly rated debt.
US stocks are once again looking at a week for the history books -- this time on the up side.
Tomorrow is Good Friday, when many exchanges are closed, so the end of the week is arriving early for traders.
The S&P 500, the broadest measure of the US stock market, is on track for a nearly 13% gain, which would make this week its best since 1974
Meanwhile, the Dow could have its strongest week since 1938, surpassing its performance from two weeks ago, when it gained 12.8%. The index is so far up more than 13% this week.
Disney (DIS) shares jumped 5% following after announcing exceptional subscriber numbers for its recently launched streaming service.
Disney+ has 50 million paid subscribers globally, putting it within striking range of its initial subscriber projections just five months after it launched, it announced Wednesday.
The company told investors last year that it projected Disney+ would have 60 million to 90 million global subscribers by 2024. The service is closing in on that milestone in only five months.
The coronavirus crisis could lead to extensive problems for the mortgage industry. The Federal Reserve is keeping a close eye on the sector in order to avert a crisis, and in particular is focusing on mortgage servicers.
Home owners who are financially harmed by the coronavirus outbreak can postpone their mortgage payments under the terms of the government's economic relief package. The mortgage servicers themselves, however, are still on the hook for monthly payments, and their balance sheets might not be able to handle the volume of payments coming their way.
"The mortgage market is at the center of our economy," said Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on a Brookings Institute webinar this morning.
The industry is calling for the government to provide a backstop.
Mortgage forbearances are already skyrocketing. According to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association, forbearances grew by 1,270% in the first half of March, and then by an additional 1,896% in the second half of the month.
It's been quite the morning for market news, and stocks are in the green.
There's some rare good news today: the Federal Reserve unleashed a $2.3 trillion loan program to support the economy this morning, and Russia and Saudi Arabia are edging closer to a deal on production cuts. Oil prices are up in response and energy stocks are headed higher.
This, along with a lot of negative bad economic news that is already priced into the market, helped investors shrug off another awful coronavirus-related data point: another 6.6 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the week ended April 4.
The Federal Reserve has unleashed its monetary policy might to support the US economy through the coronavirus crisis -- and some worry that could lead to a to a spike in inflation down the line.
But Fed Chairman Jerome Powell isn't concerned.
"It is not a first-order concern for us that too-high inflation might be coming our way," he said during a Brookings Institute webinar.
People also feared that the quantitative easing policies following the financial crisis would result in inflation, Powell said: "Not only did it not happen, inflation has been below our target.”
Even so, he acknowledged that it's impossible for policymakers to spend as much time as they usually do on new initiatives. "I worry that in hindsight we can see that we should have done things differently," he said, "but inflation is not one of those concerns."