Stocks rise…Consumer confidence falls…Home prices rose before outbreak
NEW YORK (AP) – Stocks are rising in early trading on Wall Street as nations and some U.S. states move toward reopening their economies from lockdowns made to restrict the spread of the coronavirus. The S&P 500 was up 0.8% and on track for its first three-day winning streak in a month. Markets are broadly higher in Europe and were mixed in Asia. Investors are also focusing on earnings reports that big U.S. companies will be reporting this week. Google parent Alphabet and Starbucks report their latest results after the closing bell. U.S. crude oil prices swung wildly again on concern about oversupply and a lack of storage space.
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. consumer confidence plunged in April as millions lost their jobs, with an index that monitors attitudes about current business and work conditions dropping by the largest amount on record. The Conference Board said Tuesday that its confidence index tumbled to a reading of 86.9, down from 118.8 in March. The index is composed of consumers’ assessment of present conditions and expectations about the future. The present conditions index slumped from 166.7, to 76.4, a 90-point drop that was the largest on record. The expectations index, based on the future outlook, improved slightly from 86.8 in March to 93.8 in April.
WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S home prices rose at a steady pace in February, before the viral outbreak shuttered much of the economy and caused a sharp fall in home sales. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 3.5% in February from a year ago, up from a 3.1% increase in January. Solid hiring at the start of the year and low mortgage rates had supported rising home sales and prices, but in March sales of new and existing homes plummeted as much of the U.S. population sheltered in place.
DALLAS (AP) – Southwest Airlines is posting its first quarterly loss in almost a decade and doesn’t see any improvement in air travel on the horizon. Chairman and CEO Gary Kelly said the U.S. economy is at a standstill and the airline’s outlook for the second quarter shows no improvement in air travel trends. On Tuesday, the Dallas carrier said it swung to a loss of $94 million for the quarter ended March 31, from a $387 million profit last year. It was the airline’s first quarterly loss since 2011. The company has canceled flights, parked planes and borrowed money to hang on through the coronavirus pandemic.
ATLANTA (AP) – United Parcel Service Inc. reported a 13% drop in first-quarter profit, to $965 million, as stay-at-home orders generated deliveries to people’s homes but not enough to offset the higher costs and a drop in business deliveries. UPS said Tuesday that the coronavirus outbreak has created “significant headwinds.” The package-delivery company withdrew forecasts about future revenue and profit, saying it couldn’t predict the depth or duration of the pandemic’s impact on its business. The company said it expects to cut capital spending this year by $1 billion and it is suspending share buybacks, reducing planned full-year spending on buybacks by $783 million.