Stocks Are Stuck in a Frustrating Pattern. What’s Behind the Moves.

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In breaking news, today is the end of the second quarter—and what a quarter it’s been for the stock market.

The
Dow Jones Industrial Average,
with one day to go, has tacked on 3,828 points, or 17.5%. In this environment, that counts as disappointing. The
S&P 500
is up 19.3%, while the
Nasdaq Composite
is up 28.2%. We’d call big tech the new must-have asset in this market, except that it’s not really new.

A morning briefing on what you need to know in the day ahead, including exclusive commentary from Barron’s and MarketWatch writers.

As the quarter has drawn to a close, the stock market, however, has become stuck in the most frustrating of ways. Over the past 16 trading sessions the Dow has risen eight times and fallen eight times. The average move, up or down, has been about 440 points, or roughly 1.7%.

The choppy nature of trading illustrates, to some extent, that no one knows anything. The outlook for stocks in the second half of 2020 is uncertain—more so than usual. The second half will see the battle against Covid-19 continue and a presidential election that could upend things no matter who wins.

If you’re waiting to plop down on a bar stool and guzzle draft beer while talking to friends and strangers about the game on TV, you’re probably going to have to keep waiting.

“I didn’t take it seriously for myself. I was not practicing the social-distancing guidelines. I didn’t wear a mask. I thought I was invincible.” –Jimmy Flores, a 30-year-old from Phoenix who was infected with Covid-19 during a night out and ended up in the hospital on oxygen.

What’s Next: With people between 18 and 49 now accounting for 57% of new weekly coronavirus cases—versus just about 30% back in April—and bars emerging as the common denominator in new clusters, expect more shutdowns in the weeks ahead.

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is unconstitutional. The CFPB can continue to operate, but the president can fire the head of the agency without cause, the 5-4 majority ruled. Previously, that could only happen due to “inefficiency, neglect of duty, or malfeasance in office.”

What’s Next: In the near-term, the ruling gives President Trump more sway over an agency that had long drawn the ire of Wall Street. But if Joe Biden wins the presidency in November, the ruling means he can jettison himself of the current Trump-appointed agency head.

Amazon.com’s
Twitch live-streaming platform and the social media site Reddit took steps against President Donald Trump and his most vocal online backers.

What’s Next: The move comes as advertisers reconsider spending on social media platforms like
Facebook,
citing inaction on hate speech and false news content.

Gilead’s
pricing for remdesivir, its antiviral treatment for Covid-19 patients, is lower than some forecasts.

“As with many other aspects of this pandemic, we are in unchartered territory in pricing remdesivir.” ––Daniel O’Day, Gilead Sciences CEO

What’s Next: Currently remdesivir can only be given intravenously, which means it has to be administered in hospitals. But an inhaled version, which will start Phase 1 trials in August, would enable patients with less severe symptoms to take it at home, dramatically increasing the market for the drug.

The Chinese parliament voted on Tuesday to pass a law on national security for Hong Kong, in a move that will heighten tensions with western democracies who have denounced the measure as a threat to the former British colony’s freedoms.

What’s Next: The law marks the end of the special, semiautonomous system Hong Kong has known for more than two decades. The EU and the U.S. may now find it hard to take their criticism beyond words, as they remain undecided about the timeliness and usefulness of sanctions against Beijing.

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It’s not too late to join the challenge! Sign up and pick your stocks now at marketwatch.com/game/barrons-daily. This month’s game ends on July 15.

In breaking news, today is the end of the second quarter—and what a quarter it’s been for the stock market.

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. Distribution and use of this material are governed by our Subscriber Agreement and by copyright law. For non-personal use or to order multiple copies, please contact Dow Jones Reprints at 1-800-843-0008 or visit www.djreprints.com.

Source: https://www.barrons.com/articles/barrons-daily-today-is-the-last-day-of-the-second-quarter-who-knows-what-will-come-next-51593518736

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