Dow Notches Best Month in 33 Yrs., Despite Big Losses Thursday

Stocks fell sharply on Thursday, the last day of April, as another round of dismal economic data led investors to trim some profits while the market wrapped up its best month in decades.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled 288.14 points, or 1.2%, to 24,345.72

The S&P 500 slipped 27.08 points to 2,908.06.

The NASDAQ Composite lost 25.16 points to 8,889.56.

Despite Thursday’s losses, the major averages notched their best monthly performances in decades.

The S&P 500 posted its third-largest monthly gain since World War II, surging 12.7% in April. It was also its biggest one-month gain since 1987. The Dow had its fourth-largest post-war monthly rally with an 11.1% gain. The Dow also had its best month in 33 years.

The NASDAQ surged 15.5% in April, its biggest monthly gain since June 2000.

April’s rally is a mirror image to the market action in March. Last month, the S&P 500 plunged 12.5% while the Dow lost over 13%. The gains in April also marked the fifth time in history the S&P 500 experienced 10% monthly moves in opposite directions during back-to-back months.

Bank stocks were among the biggest laggards on Wall Street. Bank of America slid nearly 3% while Citigroup fell 3.4%. JPMorgan Chase slid 2.2%.

Facebook jumped more than 5% after it reported its advertising sales stabilized in the first three weeks of April following a “significant” pullback. The social media giant also posted first-quarter per-share earnings of $1.71 and revenues of $17.74 billion.

Amazon and Netflix both gained at least 1.9% while Apple climbed 2.2%. Both Amazon and Apple are set to report earnings after the bell.

The U.S. Labor Department said another 3.84 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week, bringing the six-week total to more than 30 million. U.S. consumer spending also dropped 7.5% in March on a year-over-year basis.

The sharp rise in jobless claims and the precipitous drop in consumer spending come as businesses are forced to shut down and consumers stay home amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Prices for the 10-Year Treasury eased, raising yields to 0.63% from Wednesday’s 0.61%. Treasury prices and yields move in opposite directions.

Oil prices jumped $3.96 to $19.02 U.S. a barrel.

Gold prices sank $18.30 to $1,695.10 U.S. an ounce.