Your Thursday Market Blip 4/16/20

Your Thursday Market Blip 4/16/20

Tech stocks are the place to be these days as the likes of Amazon and Netflix power to new highs while banks, airlines and energy related sectors continue to struggle. The Dow opened the day in the red but closed up 33 points to 23,537. Trading volume on the Dow was low while volume in the tech Heavy NASDAQ was up which indicates institutional buyers are focusing on tech stocks.
The latest economic data is ugly. There were 5.2 million unemployment claims and March housing data showed housing starts falling 22.3%. Building permits however showed a drop of only 6.8% indicating that people are hoping to build once the economic restrictions are lifted.
The SBA Paycheck Protection Program being administered through 4,900 lending institutions has, in the last 14 days, approved more than 1.5 million applications and has hit the $350 billion funding limit. Treasury is currently seeking an additional $250 billion in funding for this program from Congress. PSBJ posted a story about how Washington Trust Bank reorganized itself to handle PPP loans and said it retrained people and reached out to customers prior to the launch date and when the program went live on Friday April 3rd it had people working almost round the clock before finishing up at 1:30 in the morning on April the 7th. Washington Trust was able to process over 3,000 loans in Washington, Idaho and Oregon for over a billion dollars. Umpqua was another local bank that brought on additional staff and worked round the clock to get loans approved. Some applications however are still in limbo waiting for Congress to approve funds.
In a sign that spring is here, the Seattle Times is reporting that two farmers markets are set to reopen this weekend in Ballard and the University District. The reopening is being coordinated with the Mayor’s office and King County public health and is an effort to support local farmers and broaden the flood supply channel in light of one large meat packer having had to close facilities due to workforce virus infections. At the farmers market there will be restrictions in place like social distancing, hand washing, face masks, no music and people are urged to “shop and get out”.
The scouts had another online Zoom meeting last night and it went well. There are lots of merit badges being worked on.