The stock market is headed for strong weekly gains despite a rising number of reported coronavirus cases and disappointing consumer data. The S&P 500 and DOW are each up more than +1% for the week as we head into Friday afternoon trading. The NASDAQ, meanwhile, has risen +2% for the week lead by strong earnings in the tech sector, which has dominated or Top Stocks list this week.
Core retail sales, which exclude autos, gas, building materials, and food services, were unchanged last month, the Commerce Department said. The department added clothing-store sales had its most significant one-month decline since 2009.
The data suggests "consumer spending is still struggling for momentum," said Andrew Hunter, a senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics, in a note. "That may also have been affected by the unseasonable weather, but there were also declines in electronics and health & personal care, while online sales continued their relatively subdued run."
China's National Health Commission on Friday reported an additional 121 deaths nationwide, with 5,090 new confirmed cases of the coronavirus. The flu-like virus was found to have killed a total of 1,380 people in mainland China as of Thursday evening after the health commission said it had removed 108 deaths from the total figure due to a double-count in Hubei province — the epicenter of the global coronavirus outbreak.
It is the second day in a row that the province's data changes have caused significant changes to a nationwide figure, fueling doubts many have about their accuracy.
Key Levels To Watch Next Week:
- S&P 500 (CME:SP500): 3,214.68
- Dow (INDEX:DJI): 28,169.53
- NASDAQ (NASDAQ:COMP): 9,088.04
- U.S. Dollar (ICE:DX): 97.35
- Gold (NYMEX:GC.J20): 1,568.50
- Crude Oil (NYMEX:CL.H20): 51.31
- Bitcoin (BITCOIN:BITSTAMPUSD): 8,317.60