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The Market Wrap for April 24: Oil’s Historic Plunge

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc on the markets and the world’s economy. This week was no different. The main casualty was the oil markets. Thanks to continued plunging demand and high supplies, futures prices for crude oil made plenty of history, turning negative for the first time ever. This set the wheels in motion for a wild week that was filled with plenty of volatility.

Adding to that bumpiness was continued poor data. While the sheer number of overall metrics released was light, what was announced continued to paint a cloudy picture of the U.S. economy, with jobless claims rising, industrial activity slowing, and housing activity coming to a standstill.

Echoing these poor data points was the continuation of earnings season. So far, reports have been mixed. While many firms have beaten estimates, guidance has remained poor and there is plenty of caution in earnings reports. At the same time, numerous negative corporate actions, such as dividend cuts, layoffs, and even bankruptcies, were announced during the week. This created a bumpy trading session and increased overall volatility.

In the end, traders continued to react violently to the week’s news, which made for a choppy environment.

Be sure to check out our previous Wrap here, when the earnings season started with a whimper.

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