Global markets failed to overcome a chorus of politicians calling for a loosening of social distancing and shutdown measures. The US broke a run of two positive days, falling 0.9% overnight whilst the ASX slid between gains and large losses to finish down 0.4%.
The market is unlike few experienced before with daily performance driven by company-specific, rather than industry or cyclicality and swinging from gains to losses at unprecedented levels.
The US trade deficit expanded 11% in March as exports fell by imports continued as the lockdowns only began to take effect. European PMI activity measures were expectedly weak falling to the lowest levels on record, including just 26.7 for services and 11.1 in France.
Despite an 11.2% fall in Eurozone retail sales, the largest since records began in 1995 and UK construction hitting just 8.2 (with 50 being growth) the DAX 100 advanced 0.2%. Diabetes drug business Novo Nordisk benefitted from panic buying of its core treatments prior to the shutdown.
Across the pacific, gaming businesses Electronic Arts and Activision Blizzard, who recently released another Call of Duty title, appear to be key beneficiaries of boredom, hitting all-time highs as downloads spiked and management kept earnings forecasts in place. Activision delivered earnings 50% above expectations.
The aerial imagery platform Nearmap spiked close to 10% on little to no news, likely benefit from an expected loosening of restrictions ahead of this weekend.
Stem cell treatment Mesoblast also increased by 12.5% as the company announced it had commenced a phase 2 trial of 300 patients with severe COVID-19 patients after some success in April. JB Hi-Fi seems to be the Amazon of Australia, seeing an 11.6% spike in sales for the third quarter and boosted its online delivery capabilities. Transurban, on the other hand, was chastised for announcing an increase in tolls even as its roads are empty.