Dow rises as S&P, Nasdaq slip in volatile session

U.S. equity markets ended the session mixed giving up some of the day's gains in the final hour of trading.

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The Dow Jones Industrial Average secured a modest gain of 35 points or less than 0.17 percent, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite ended with fractional losses.

Investors are waiting as members of the House of Representatives prepare to pass a bill that will grant nearly $500 billion of aid to small businesses impacted by COVID-19. The bill will be sent to President Trump to be signed into law if it is passed.

The market also managed to look past another big surge in first-time jobless filings for the week ended April 18 totaled 4.43 million, bringing the total number of Americans out of work over the past five weeks to more than 26 million.

Looking at stocks, shares of Gilead Sciences fell after data from a Chinese drug trial showed the company's drug remdesivir showed no benefit to coronavirus patients. However, the company released a statement blasting the World Health Organization.

“Today, information from the first clinical study evaluating the investigational antiviral remdesivir in patients with severe COVID-19 disease in China was prematurely posted on the World Health Organization website. This information has since been removed, as the study investigators did not provide permission for the publication of the results…” the statement read.

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Big-box retailer Target reported online sales have soared by 275 percent so far in April and that overall comparable sales are up 5 percent. The company warned its margins will fall by 5 percentage points in the first quarter due to temporary wage increases now set to continue through May 30.

Apparel retailer Gap has suspended rent payments and is in talks with landlords to negotiate or terminate leases. The company said it could end up in default if it is unable to renegotiate its terms.

Marathon Petroleum warned the plunge in gasoline demand will lead to a quarterly loss and force the company to take a $7.8 billion write-down when it reports its quarterly results next month.

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Elsewhere, drugmaker Eli Lily beat on both the top and bottom lines and said COVID-19 lifted global revenue by $250 million. The company warned the virus could negatively impact results later this year.

Domino’s Pizza reported better-than-expected quarterly profit and revenue and said U.S. same-store sales climbed 7.1 percent during the first four weeks of the second quarter. International same-store sales, however, fell 3.2 percent through the first three weeks of the quarter.

In the entertainment industry, Las Vegas Sands reported a net loss of $51 million as revenue plunged 50 percent from a year ago to $1.78 billion. The casino operator suspended its 79 cents-a-share dividend.

On the commodities front, West Texas Intermediate crude oil surged for a second day, trading up 19.7 percent at $16.50 per barrel. Gold was also higher, up 0.27 percent at $1,733 an ounce.

U.S. Treasurys were little changed, with the yield on the 10-year note holding at 0.613 percent.

European markets were higher across the board, with France’s CAC up 0.89 percent, Germany’s DAX rising 0.95 percent and Britain’s FTSE rallying 0.97 percent.

In Asia, Japan’s Nikkei outperformed, gaining 1.52 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.19 percent and 0.35 percent, respectively.

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