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David Becker

US stocks were mixed on Friday with the Dow and S&P 500 index in the red and the Nasdaq closing in the black. Most sectors in the S&P 500 index were lower, led down by Real-estate, Healthcare bucked the trend. For the week the S&P 500 index closed up approximately 2%. The VIX volatility index closed lower on Friday and is hovering near 32.5, still well above the historical average for 2019. The term-structure of the VIX shows that traders expect more near term volatility than future volatility. Apple shares weighed on the broader markets, following news that the company plans to close some of its stores in areas where COVID is spreading. Crude oil prices moved higher but were unable to close above $40 per barrel. The US current account deficit dipped to a 2-year low in the Q1.

Apple is Closing Some Stores

Apple announced that the company would re-close nearly a dozen stores in four states where the number of cases of COVID is rising. The company on Friday said it would close two stores on the west coast of Florida a few in the Carolinas and 6 across Arizona.

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Current Account Deficit Declined

The US current account deficit dipped to a two-year low in the first quarter according to the Commerce Department. The flow of goods, services and investments into and out of the country, slipped 0.1% to $104.2 billion, the smallest since the second quarter of 2018. A drop in imports and income payments narrowly outpaced a decline in exports and income receipts. Data for the fourth quarter was revised to show the gap narrowing to $104.3 billion, instead of $109.8 billion as previously reported. Economists polled by Reuters had forecast the current account gap shrinking to $103 billion in the January-March quarter.

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