Market Update: May 19, 2020

We may be getting closer to a vaccine!

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell had a strong “60 Minutes” interview yesterday. He offered encouragement and no limits.

More lockdown restrictions eased today.

Moderna shares rocketed up today on news that the firm has had a successful first trial of a vaccine that creates neutralizing antibodies to help people avoid contracting COVID-19. The vaccine is moving on to Phase 2 trials.

Fed Chairman Powell said there would be “no limit” to what the Fed would do to speed an economic recovery. He also noted that “you wouldn’t want to bet against the American economy.”

Oil is coming back strong.

The week got off to a great start, as news of a successful trial test of a vaccine by Moderna and comments from Fed Chairman Powell fueled an exceptional day in the markets. Simply put, a successful vaccine against
the coronavirus would be a huge step forward. Today the markets were optimistic and hopeful and rose nearly 1,000 points. Last week’s negativity was nowhere to be found, which was refreshing for a change. Negativity will creep back in, but today was not that day.

Volatility was lower (below 30) and, although still high by historical measures, continues to trend downward. Yields were up as investors got off the bench and sold bonds to participate in today’s stock rally.

Volatility Index: 29.30 (down)
10-year Treasury: 0.73 (up)

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