Stocks rally as Trump signs $484B small-business relief bill

U.S. equity markets gained momentum on Friday closing near session highs despite what was the worst week on record for oil prices.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 260 points or 1.1 percent. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite climbed 1.39 percent and 1.65 percent, respectively. Even with these gains, all three major benchmarks ended the week marginally lower.

President Trump signed the $484 billion small-business relief bill into law giving a much-needed lifetime to more independent business owners. The bill replenishes the Paycheck Protection Program, a forgivable loan program that small 5businesses can tap to keep employees on their payroll, with $310 billion.

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Additionally, states including Georgia, have begun to reopen helping restart the U.S. economy.

Looking at individual stocks, Boeing is readying job cuts and could reduce production of the 787 Dreamliner by half, according to Bloomberg.

Shale explorer Continental Resources has stopped most of its output in North Dakota, telling customers it would not be producing with oil prices at current levels, Reuters reported.

On the earnings front, three Dow Jones components released their quarterly results.

Credit card company American Express Co. said profit plunged 76 percent from a year ago to $367 million after the company set aside $2.6 billion to provide a cushion for losses from COVID-19.

Chipmaker Intel reported better-than-expected top- and bottom-line results, but expressed concerns that customer spending might stall if there were a recession.

Verizon Communications Inc. reported mixed quarterly results and lost 50,000 retail customers on traditional monthly plans. The company lowered its full-year earnings forecast, projecting profit would rise no more than 2 percent and might decline by that amount. It previously predicted earnings growth of 2 percent to 4 percent.

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Elsewhere, J.C. Penney is in advanced talks for bankruptcy funding of up to $1 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal.

West Texas Intermediate crude oil gained 2.67 percent to finish the week at $16.94 a barrel. Despite ending the week with a three-day winning streak, WTI lost 32 percent for the five days through Friday, the worst week on record.

Meanwhile, gold slipped 0.57 percent to $1,723.50 an ounce, but still gained 2.03 percent for the week.

The yield on the 10-year note was little changed, holding near 0.594 percent.

European markets were lower across the board, with Germany’s DAX weaker by 1.69 percent, Britain’s FTSE off 1.28 percent and France’s CAC down 1.30 percent.

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In Asia, China’s Shanghai Composite slid 1.06 percent, Japan’s Nikkei lost 0.86 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng fell 0.61 percent.

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