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S&P 500 posts quarterly advance of 20% for index’s best Q2 since inception in 1957

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Stocks rallied into the close Tuesday to cap off the best second quarter for blue-chip equities since the S&P 500 was created in 1957.

The S&P 500 surged nearly 20% for the April through June quarter, in a swift rebound from the index’s March lows as a historic infusion of fiscal and monetary stimulus to prop up individuals, business and the economy undercut concerns over the coronavirus’s spread.

The advance marked the index’s best overall quarter since 1998. The Dow jumped more than 17.5%, and the Nasdaq outperformed with a greater than 30% gain for the second quarter, marking these indices’ best overall quarters since 1987 and 2001, respectively.

Each of the S&P 500’s 11 sectors closed out the second quarter in positive territory. The consumer discretionary sector led with a 32.6% quarterly gain, followed by the information tech sector at 30.1%. The consumer staples and utilities sectors lagged, rising 7.3% and 1.8%, respectively, during the second quarter.

By stock, Halliburton and Marathon Oil posted the biggest second-quarter rises in the S&P 500, with each advancing more than 80% as energy prices staged a recovery from a mid-April nadir. However, the stocks had been laggards in the first quarter, and each stock was still down by about half for the year to date through Tuesday’s close. West Texas intermediate crude oil prices rose 92% during the second quarter for the commodity’s best quarter since 1990, after a 66.5% slump in the first three months of the year.

PayPal, Gap, eBay and Dish Network also led the S&P 500 higher, with each stock posting quarterly advances of more than 70%. Xerox Holdings, Apache Corp. and Biogen were the biggest laggards for the second quarter, with each dropping more than 15%.

The three major indices also closed out June in the green for a third straight month of gains. The Nasdaq rose 6% in June, followed by the S&P 500 with a 2% gain. The Dow rose 1.7% for the month.

4:10 p.m. ET: Stocks rally into the close of a strong second quarter

Here’s where the three major indices settled at the end of regular equity trading:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +47.05 points (+1.54%) to 3,100.29

  • Dow (^DJI): +217.08 points (+0.85%) to 25,812.88

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +184.61 points (+1.87%) to 10,058.77

1:15 p.m. ET: Mnuchin says additional stimulus would be ‘targeted to specific industries’ disrupted by pandemic

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Tuesday afternoon that any further fiscal relief to businesses would be “targeted to specific industries” most disrupted by the pandemic.

Mnuchin added that he hopes the bill to repurpose Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds will pass by the end of July, when key measures provided by the original legislation are set to expire.

His remarks came during congressional testimony alongside Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell before the House Financial Services Committee.

1:02 p.m. ET: Fauci warns new Covid-19 cases could jump to 100,000 per day without behavior changes

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said Tuesday before a Senate panel that new coronavirus cases could accelerate to 100,000 per day if the country does not manage to contain the latest outbreak in the virus. The current per-day increases in virus cases has hovered around 40,000 as of late.

The resurgence in new cases in the South and West “puts the entire country at risk,” Fauci said.

10:50 a.m. ET: Dow rises to join S&P 500, Nasdaq in positive territory

The Dow turned slightly positive mid-morning Tuesday as a more than 1% rise in shares of Intel, Goldman Sachs and Procter & Gamble – along with gains in some other components – offset a more than 5% drop in shares of Boeing.

The real estate sector led gains in the S&P 500, after new data Tuesday showed home prices held up strongly in April even at the height of the coronavirus pandemic. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller home price index added to a slew of recent data underscoring the strength of the housing market and residential home demand, despite the outbreak.

10:01 a.m. ET: Consumer confidence jumped more than expected in June

A closely watched measure of consumer confidence jumped more than expected in June over May as lockdowns eased earlier this month.

The Conference Board’s Consumer Confidence Index rose to 98.1 in June, rebounding from May’s reading of 85.9 in the index’s largest jump since 2011. The level was still, however, down sharply from its average reading of about 126 in 2019.

Subindices tracking consumers’ assessments of current business and labor market conditions, along with their assessments toward future conditions, also each rose in June over May.

“Consumer Confidence partially rebounded in June but remains well below pre-pandemic levels,” Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said in a statement. “The re-opening of the economy and relative improvement in unemployment claims helped improve consumers’ assessment of current conditions, but the Present Situation Index suggests that economic conditions remain weak.”

“Looking ahead, consumers are less pessimistic about the short-term outlook, but do not foresee a significant pickup in economic activity,” Franco added. “Faced with an uncertain and uneven path to recovery, and a potential COVID-19 resurgence, it’s too soon to say that consumers have turned the corner and are ready to begin spending at pre-pandemic levels.”

9:33 a.m. ET: Stocks open flat

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 9:33 a.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +2.67 points (+0.09%) to 3,055.91

  • Dow (^DJI): -33.96 points (-0.13%) to 25,561.84

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +14.4 points (+0.1%) to 9,885.68

  • Crude (CL=F): -$0.65 (-1.64%) to $39.05 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$2.30 (-0.13%) to $1,778.90 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): -0.8 bps to yield 0.628%

9:00 a.m. ET: Home-price growth held up in April despite pandemic

Home prices increased in April over last year even amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index. The index posted a 4.73% annual gain in April, up from March’s 4.35% rise. Consensus economists expected a 4.5% year-on-year rate.

The 20-City composite index, which tracks home prices in 20 major metropolitan areas, rose 3.98% in April, up from March’s 3.92% year on year gain. Consensus economists had expected the index to decelerate to a 3.8% pace.

7:23 a.m. ET: Stock futures tick down ahead of the opening bell

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 7:21 a.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,042.5, down 5.25 points or 0.17%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 25,430.00, down 67 points, or 0.26%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 9,963.5, down 10.25 points, or 0.1%

  • Crude (CL=F): -$0.48 (-1.21%) to $39.22 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +$1.40 (+0.08%) to $1,782.60 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): unchanged to yield 0.636%

6:07 p.m. ET: Stock futures little changed

Here were the main moves at the start of the overnight session for U.S. equity futures, as of 6:07 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 3,047.25, down 0.5 points or 0.02%

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 25,482.00, down 15 points, or 0.06%

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 9,981.25, down 7.5 points, or 0.08%

Traders wearing masks work, on the first day of in person trading since the closure during the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., May 26, 2020. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

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source – Smithers Interior News

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The CFL has sent Canadian Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault a revised financial request.

A CFL source said Friday the league is seeking roughly $42.5 million in aid. In April, it asked the federal government for up to $150 million in financial assistance in the event of a cancelled 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

At the time, CFL commissioner Randy Ambrosie said the league was anxious “to be accountable to taxpayers,’ and would attempt to repay a portion of government assistance through ”community programs, tourism promotion, the Grey Cup, our digital channels.”

The source added the new request is to cover operating costs and player salaries for a shortened 2020 season. The proposal also includes a letter of support from the CFL Players’ Association.

The source spoke on the condition of anonymity because neither the government nor CFL have confirmed the request.

Last month, the CFL and CFLPA began talks to amend the current collective bargaining agreement to allow for an abbreviated season. The two sides must sign off on any changes for any games to be played.

But prior to the start of negotiations, the CFL presented the union with a memo outlining the conditions it wanted and a completion deadline of July 23.

When asked about the revised financial request, the CFL said, “We continue discussions with the federal government including discussions on our possible return to play.”

While the revision is for substantially less money, the CFL’s situation hasn’t changed much. It still requires financial assistance with revenues having dropped drastically due to the COVID-19 pandemic and expenses expected to continue to rise if it tries to play a season with no fans

The CFL’s initial request of Ottawa consisted of three tiers: It called for $30 million immediately to manage the impact the outbreak has had on league business; additional assistance for an abbreviated regular season; and up to another $120 million in the event of a lost 2020 campaign.

When Ambrosie spoke to a federal standing committee on finance in May, he was roundly criticized for failing to stipulate where the funds would go and not involving the CFLPA in the process. But the source said the revised proposal mirrors an authentic financial offer and contains more specific details than the original one did.

The earliest an abbreviated ‘20 season will begin is September, but Ambrosie has stated a cancelled campaign also remains possible.

If the CFL holds a shortened season, it’s expected to do so in a hub city. Winnipeg has been mentioned as a strong hub candidate, but the source said Regina also is under consideration.

Dan Ralph, The Canadian Press

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AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited and Its Core Subsidiaries

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OLDWICK, N.J.–()–AM Best has affirmed the Long-Term Issuer Credit Rating (Long-Term ICR) of “bbb” and the various Long-Term Issue Credit Ratings (Long-Term IR) on the unsecured debt and preferred equity of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited (Fairfax) (Toronto, Canada). AM Best also has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating (FSR) of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term ICRs of “a+” of the subsidiaries of Odyssey Group Holdings, Inc. (Odyssey Group). Concurrently, AM Best has affirmed the FSR of A (Excellent) and the Long-Term ICRs of “a” of the members of the Crum & Forster Insurance Group (C&F), the members of the Zenith National Insurance Group (Zenith Group), the members of Northbridge Financial Corporation (Northbridge) (Toronto, Canada) and Wentworth Insurance Company Limited (Wentworth) (Barbados). In addition, AM Best has affirmed the Long-Term ICRs of “bbb” and the Long-Term IRs of Zenith National Insurance Corp. (headquartered in Woodland Hills, CA) and Fairfax (US) Inc. (Delaware), both of which are indirectly, wholly owned downstream holding companies of Fairfax. The outlook of all of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable. (See link below for a detailed listing of the companies and ratings.)

The ratings of Odyssey Group reflect its balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as strongest, as well as its strong operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management (ERM). The ratings also reflect group member Odyssey Reinsurance Company’s (Odyssey Re) ranking among AM Best’s top global reinsurers, supported by the group’s diversified global geographic footprint, which includes reinsurance and specialty primary insurance, large-line capacity and broad product offerings. Somewhat offsetting these strengths is Odyssey Re’s challenging operating environment, with the uncertainty brought by the current COVID-19 pandemic developments.

The ratings of C&F reflect its balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate ERM. The ratings also reflect the benefits the group derives from its role within the larger Fairfax enterprise. C&F also benefits from its diversified and growing product portfolio and distribution networks. Management continues to focus on growth in its specialty business at appropriate rates, terms and conditions. Partially offsetting these positive rating factors are the competitive market conditions that persist in the commercial lines sector and relatively unfavorable expense levels.

The ratings of the Zenith Group reflect its balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate ERM. The ratings also are enhanced by the benefits the group derives from its position in the Fairfax enterprise. Furthermore, the ratings reflect management’s expertise and commitment to maintaining underwriting discipline throughout market cycles. Zenith’s underwriting performance over many years has outperformed the workers compensation market. Somewhat offsetting these positive rating factors is Zenith’s concentration of written premium in California and Florida, as well as the job market impact caused by the COVID-19 reducing payrolls.

The ratings of Northbridge reflect the group’s balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as strongest, as well as its adequate operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate ERM. The ratings of Northbridge also acknowledge the group’s position within Canada’s commercial insurance market, diversified commercial lines franchise and strong broker distribution network. The group continues to benefit from improved and strong underwriting performance within its small to mid-market commercial segment. Partially offsetting these positive rating factors are competitive market conditions that persist in Canada’s commercial and personal lines segments, and the group’s relatively unfavorable expense levels.

The ratings of Wentworth reflect its balance sheet strength, which AM Best categorizes as very strong, as well as its adequate operating performance, limited business profile and appropriate ERM. The ratings also are enhanced by the benefits it derives from its position in the Fairfax enterprise. In addition, the ratings of Wentworth are supported by its historically profitable underwriting performance and loss reserve position. The company benefits from its investment portfolio, which includes a significant allocation of cash and short-term securities. Partially offsetting these positive rating factors is the company’s concentration of property catastrophe exposure within its book of business, which subjects it to a substantial degree of volatility as evidenced over the past few years.

A complete listing of Fairfax Financial Holdings Limited and its subsidiaries’ FSRs, Long-Term ICRs and Long-Term IRs also is available.

This press release relates to Credit Ratings that have been published on AM Best’s website. For all rating information relating to the release and pertinent disclosures, including details of the office responsible for issuing each of the individual ratings referenced in this release, please see AM Best’s Recent Rating Activity web page. For additional information regarding the use and limitations of Credit Rating opinions, please view Guide to Best’s Credit Ratings. For information on the proper media use of Best’s Credit Ratings and AM Best press releases, please view Guide for Media – Proper Use of Best’s Credit Ratings and AM Best Rating Action Press Releases.

AM Best is a global credit rating agency, news publisher and data analytics provider specializing in the insurance industry. Headquartered in the United States, the company does business in over 100 countries with regional offices in New York, London, Amsterdam, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico City. For more information, visit www.ambest.com.

Copyright © 2020 by A.M. Best Rating Services, Inc. and/or its affiliates. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

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Billionaire Musk’s net worth zooms past Warren Buffett’s

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(Reuters) – Elon Musk’s net worth soared past Warren Buffett on Friday as the chief executive officer of Tesla Inc <TSLA.O> became the seventh richest person in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Musk’s fortune rose by $6.07 billion on Friday, Bloomberg News said, following a 10.8% jump in the electric carmaker’s stock.

Buffett’s net worth dropped earlier this week when he donated $2.9 billion in Berkshire Hathaway <BRKa.N> stock to charity, the report added.

Tesla’s shares have surged 500% over the past year as the company increased sales of its Model 3 sedan.

The blistering rally also puts Musk in reach of a payday potentially worth $1.8 billion, his second jackpot from the electric car maker in about two months.

The stock is up about 38% since the close on July 1, a day before the company reported its quarterly delivery numbers.

Tesla’s solid delivery numbers heightened expectations of a profitable second quarter, which would mark the first time in its history that it would report four consecutive quarters of profit.

(Reporting by Shubham Kalia in Bengaluru; Editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan)

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