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Good morning, and Happy Friday. Stocks and oil are down. After yesterday’s rollercoaster ride, the markets look to end the week on a down note.
Let’s see what’s moving those markets.
0.88. If you live in Michigan, you may have seen the price of gasoline is now under a buck at some gas stations around the state. The national price is a bit higher, standing at $1.79—for now. “We’re expecting to see prices to continue to decline,” says AAA, the automobile club. The price-at-the-pump collapse follows the historic crash in oil prices earlier this week. Typically, cheap gas is a boom for consumers, but the tumult in the oil markets—reminder: we hit negative oil on Monday—is having huge ripple effects across the global economy. This will be a jolt to oil-dependent emerging markets from Angola to Venezuela, and very likely become a big political issue in fracking country.
26.5 million. That’s how many workers in the United States have filed for unemployment benefits in the past five weeks. Yesterday’s tally of 4.4 million jobless claims filed was an improvement over previous weeks, but was more or less in line with economists’ estimates. The markets shrugged off the data as a flattening-the-curve success. But we’re still staring at a real unemployment rate of 20.6%, my colleague Lance Lambert calculates.
76.76. After two straight weeks of gains, the S&P 500 has fallen by nearly 76.76 points, or 2.7%, over the last four trading sessions. In a week where oil has plunged to historic depths, the economy has shed another 4.4 million jobs, and corporate earnings go from bad to worse, that’s not a bad performance. But the bulls won’t be happy.
When I joined Fortune full-time last September, one of my first calls was to Adrian Croft. We had worked together at Reuters back in the day. While I toiled on the equities desk in London back then, Adrian was off on glamorous assignments. He was embedded with the U.S. 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit during the invasion of Iraq in 2003 while I was covering the collapse of the Big 5 music labels. I saw some great concerts; he saw history.
A true Fleet Street veteran, Adrian has great stories to tell. (Do yourself a favor and read his farewell note to colleagues when he retired from Reuters last year).
Adrian agreed to come out of retirement and write for us, on topics ranging from the Saudi-Russian price war, to king dollar, to the wolf in cashmere, Bernard Arnault. He also wrote the “Today’s reads” and is the genius behind “Market candy.”
He won’t be happy that I’m making such a fuss about him, but I just wanted to thank him publicly for all his help these past few months. Today is his last day on BS duty.
I’m sure we’ll work together again some day. The gods of journalism wouldn’t want it any other way.
All the best, my friend.
Have a nice weekend, everyone. I’ll see you here on Monday.
Correction: yesterday’s Bull Sheet contained a misspelling. It should have read, “Okun’s Law.”
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