Stocks around the world were relatively flat mid-week after opening higher to start the week. On the evening of March 31, President Trump warned of a “very painful two weeks ahead” in the wake of the coronavirus. On Wednesday, stocks erased gains from earlier in the week as investors grappled with the ongoing uncertainty surrounding the pandemic. Data from ADP showed a weakening labor market and the ISM manufacturing index indicated a contraction in manufacturing activity during February. Energy markets continue to struggle, with oil prices having now fallen more than 65% during the first quarter of 2020. On the international front, China’s official manufacturing PMI jumped to 52.0 in March following a record low figure of 35.7 in February. According to the National Bureau of Statistics, the reading reflects that more than half of the surveyed enterprises have resumed work and production, but it does not mean that China’s economy has returned to normal. Investors will be looking to first-quarter earnings in the coming weeks for insights on how the coronavirus will impact economic activity and corporate profits going forward. Interest rates in the U.S. continued to move lower this week, with the 2-year and 10-year notes trading at 0.25% and 0.60% respectively mid-week.
Source: Bloomberg, CNBC, WSJ Market Data, GSAM