The US equity market finished lower on last session of the month, Thursday, 30 April 2020, as investors elected to book profit following the rally seen over the course of the previous session, the release of some disappointing U. S. economic data, and mixed corporate earnings. Meanwhile, selloff fuelled further on report that the federal government was considering retaliating against China for its handling of the coronavirus. At closing bell, the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 288.14 points, or 1.2%, to 24,345.72. The S&P 500 - a gauge of US retirement and education savings accounts - lost 27.08 points, or 0.9%, to 2,912.43. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite Index shed 25.16 points, off 0.3%, to 8,889.55, For the month, the Dow gained 11.1%, while the S&P 500 ended April up 12.7%, The Nasdaq booked a monthly return of 15.5%.
U. S. officials are beginning to explore proposals for punishing or demanding financial compensation from China for its handling of the coronavirus pandemic. The move could splinter already strained relations between the two superpowers at a perilous moment for the global economy. Senior officials across multiple government agencies are expected to meet Thursday to begin mapping out a strategy for seeking retaliatory measures against China, as per reports. Officials in American intelligence agencies are also involved in the effort.
President Trump has fumed to aides and others in recent days about China, blaming the country for withholding information about the virus, and has discussed enacting dramatic measures that would probably lead to retaliation by Beijing.
White House officials and multiple congressional lawmakers have become increasingly fixated on China's response to the outbreak and failure to contain it, asserting Chinese officials concealed key information and refused to cooperate with international health organizations. Chinese officials have repeatedly rejected allegations that they did not act swiftly enough to confront the virus.
Tech stocks rose amid positive financial reports from iPhone maker Apple. Apple said its revenue reached $58.3 billion in the quarter ended in March, a 1% increase from a year earlier. That beat analyst estimates, but fell far short of Apple's pre-coronavirus guidance of between $63 and $67 billion. Facebook stock climbed 5.4%, while Amazon rose 4.3%, Apple rose 2.1% and Netflix increased 1.9%.
ECONOMIC NEWS: Personal income in the U. S. tumbled by more than expected in the month of March, according to a report released by the Commerce Department on Thursday. The report said personal income plunged by 2.0% in March after climbing by 0.6% in February. The Commerce Department said personal spending also plummeted by 7.5% in March after inching up by 0.2% in the previous month.
A separate report released by the Labor Department on Thursday showed a notable decrease in first-time claims for U. S. unemployment benefits in the week ended April 25th, although claims remain at a significantly elevated level. The Labor Department said initial jobless claims tumbled to 3.839 million, a decrease of 603,000 from the previous week's revised level of 4.442 million.
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