Downside Risk Remains

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Stocks fell last week, and many blamed the drop on high stock valuations, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell’s gloomy outlook, and rising US-China tensions. Perhaps investors also are increasingly skeptical about prospects for a smooth V-shaped recovery. Regardless, stocks may have been due for a pullback after gains in late March through April and could potentially have further to fall.

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What Happened to Oil

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Negative oil prices have dominated headlines recently. A combination of oversupply, lack of demand, and a lack of storage capacity resulted in temporarily negative oil prices, where holders of a futures contract were paying others to take delivery of oil for them. We explore what happened, what it means for the world market, and where oil prices could ultimately be headed.

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Big News and New Forecast

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The last week of April was a big news week. A very weak first quarter GDP highlighted a busy economic calendar. Investors digested a flurry of earnings reports, including some of the biggest names, such as Apple, Amazon, Facebook, and Microsoft. Gilead Sciences released promising test results for a COVID-19 treatment, a positive step in potentially limiting the human and economic impact of the virus as some states began to reopen their economies. Finally, we heard from three major global central banks.

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Is the Earnings Bar Low Enough?

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This earnings season will be unlike any other, as travel restrictions and lockdowns related to COVID-19 have impacted results dramatically.The biggest economic hits came in mid-March, however, and won’t be fully captured in first quarter results. This makes company guidance particularly important as market participants look for clues into what earnings may look like for the rest of the year.

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