US major stock indexes fell in Wednesday trading as new data from the Commerce Department and Federal Reserve indicated a collapse in manufacturing output and retail sales.
However, the declines did not completely erase yesterday’s gains in another sign that US investors and corporations may be better positioned to withstand the economic shocks caused by the COVID-19 epidemic than most of the employees of the same businesses.
The numbers coming from the Commerce Department were especially grim. The value of US retail sales have fallen 8.7% over the last month. That’s the biggest decline on records dating back to 1992. Factory production had its worst month since the end of World War II. Output from factories fell a stunning 6.3% in March.
Market declines could have been worse, given the extent of the bad news coming from the industrial and retail sector. Perhaps, investors were buoyed by the knowledge that stimulus checks could begin rolling out soon (if the addition of the President’s signature doesn’t slow down their release).
- Dow Jones Industrial Average slid 1.86 percent to 23,504.35 a decline of 445.41 points
- S&P 500 tumbled 2.20 percent to 2,783.36, a loss of 62.70 points
- Nasdaq fell 1.44 percent to 8,393.18, shedding 122.56 points
While the major indices fell, a collection of SaaS and cloud stocks actually posted gains on the day.