Stocks Fall Worldwide As Coronavirus Death-toll Climbs

Having climbed over the $40 a barrel mark, the price of WTI Crude Oil is now back down to $37.68. The threat of oversupply coupled with a collapse in demand was enough to turn the price on some oil contracts negative in April, a scenario that is likely to play on investors’ minds.

Financial advice giant Edward Jones argued in a Friday note that, as long as statewide lockdowns are avoided, economic recovery in the US is now underway. But record numbers of new virus patients over the weekend do raise the possibility of that happening. At its peak, New York — which was the original US epicenter of the pandemic — hit just over 6,000 new daily cases. On Saturday, Florida posted close to 10,000. 

Friday’s sell-off puts the S&P 500 back into correction territory, down more than 10% from its February peak. The standout performer from the index on Friday was struggling clothing retailer Gap, which jumped more than 18% after announcing that rapper Kanye West’s Yeezy brand is working with Gap (GPS) on a new clothing line. 

S&P 500: -2.4% Friday, -6.9% YTD (-2.9% last week) (SPY)

Dow Jones Industrial Average: -2.8% Friday, -12.3% YTD (-3.3% last week) (DIA)

Nasdaq Composite: -2.6% Friday, +8.7% YTD (-1.9% last week) (COMP)

Pay cuts and pilot job losses at BA and Ryanair

The FTSE 100 sank 2.1% last week, while the FTSE 250 was down 3.3%, as the turning tide of sentiment around the COVID-19 virus spread in the US set the tone globally. However, London-listed stocks avoided matching the hefty sell off in the US on Friday. 

Over the weekend, airline stocks dominated headlines. British Airways, part of International Consolidated Airlines Group (IAG), reportedly told long-serving cabin crew members to take a 20% pay cut or face losing their jobs and has also sacked 350 pilots. Out of those, 300 have been put in a pool to potentially rehire in the future. Ryanair (RYAAY) reportedly sent pilots a memo asking them to accept proposals that include a 20% pay cut, and that the number of job losses will depend on acceptance levels. Virgin Atlantic, which is not a listed company, is attempting to secure a £900m rescue deal by the end of the week to ensure its survival. 

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