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Coronavirus-related volatility pushes stocks higher, yields lower

Coronavirus-related volatility continued to drive markets this week, as expectations for fiscal stimulus pushed US stock indices materially higher during the week.  Bond prices largely rose as well, pushing treasury bond yields lower by five to eleven basis points. 

Shorter-dated yields were mixed with T-Bill yields less than three months remaining negative.  The market finally received its first set of US economic data reflecting the economic impact of the virus, with the weekly initial jobless claims number receiving the most attention. 

Due to the significant number of layoffs in the service sector, nearly 3.3 million people filed initial claims for unemployment benefits.  This jawdropping number eclipsed consensus expectations of 1.7 million new claims and easily outpaced the highest previous number of weekly claims, which was 695,000.  This report reflects only the first stage of the virus' impact on the labor market, with the total number of unemployed Americans expected to continue climbing.

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