John Hancock: Weekly Market Recap Week Ended May 22nd
The major U.S. stock indexes climbed more than 3%, breaking out of a rut that has largely kept stocks in a holding pattern since late April. The S&P 500 climbed to its highest level since early March and was up 32% from a recent low on March 23.
Small-cap stocks outperformed the broader U.S. stock market by a wide margin, as a small-cap benchmark, the Russell 2000 Index, added nearly 8% for the week. The gain extended a recent run of strong performance for small caps.
Uncertainty stemming from the coronavirus pandemic has caused many companies to abandon earnings forecasts they previously issued for this year. Among those S&P 500 companies that discussed their full-year outlooks during the quarterly earnings season that’s now winding down, nearly two-thirds had withdrawn their previous guidance as of May 21, according to FactSet.
U.S. crude oil prices surged for the fourth consecutive week, eclipsing $34 per barrel on Thursday. That level is up sharply from oil’s historic lows in April, when some U.S. oil futures contracts briefly slipped below $0. In a further sign of oil’s stabilization, prices for physical oil and oil futures have been closely aligned in recent days.