Monday morning briefing: Markets rise while economies struggle

Potential COVID-19 drug showed positive results. The keys to running a successful remote meeting. Could M&A be banned during the pandemic? And much more in this week’s briefing.

Economic/industry news

U.S. economic expansion ends: US GDP shrank 4.8% in the first quarter amid biggest contraction since the financial crisis

Europe’s GDP contracts: Europe’s economy just had its worst quarter since records began

Canada’s GDP unchanged in February: Canada’s GDP growth was already flat in February, StatsCan data shows

Fed keeps its central interest rate steady: Fed holds near-zero rate, Powell sees severe impact from pandemic

Investments in real estate could decline in 2020: Institutional investors set to pull back on real estate investments in 2020: survey

A look at the benefits of a merger arbitrage strategy: Five reasons why merger arbitrage is a must-own strategy

Five tips for investing during this crisis: T. Rowe offers 5 rules for investing during time of pandemic

People are turning to financial advisors for help: How a surprise pandemic reinforced the need for financial advice

Reasons for hope

Potential COVID-19 drug showed positive results: Gilead says early results of coronavirus drug trial show improvement with shorter remdesivir treatment

Some stories of human compassion: 5 uplifting stories of people showing up for each other during the coronavirus pandemic

Looking for faster tests: Federal government launches $500 million ‘Shark Tank’ style challenge to speed development of better coronavirus tests

Assisting your clients

How companies should plan for the future: How to plan your company’s future during the pandemic

Taking a proactive approach with clients: Acting, not reacting, during the pandemic

The keys to running a successful remote meeting: How to host remote meetings without chaos

Keeping track of actions by federal regulators: Better Markets launches COVID-19 regulatory tracker

Chart of the week

The S&P 500 Index, NASDAQ Composite Index and Dow Jones Industrial Average posted their strongest monthly returns in 20 years, after reaching multi-year lows in March as a result of the spread of COVID-19. All 11 sectors on the S&P 500 Index advanced, with over 90% of stocks on the index finishing higher. This comes despite a significant drop in economic activity across the U.S. and around the world. In the U.S., initial jobless claims continue to be in the millions, while first-quarter gross domestic product fell by 4.8%. Lower valuations and hope that economies will soon begin reopening boosted the performance of equity markets. Will the expectations of getting past this crisis drive market performance in May, or will investors demonstrate concern over weak incoming economic data? Let us know what you think.
Used with permission of Bloomberg Finance L.P.

News and notes (U.S.)

Could M&A be banned during the pandemic?: Elizabeth Warren, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez want mergers halted due to COVID-19

VC funds under pressure from the COVID-19 pandemic: VC funds face bigger risk than in financial crisis

Mutual fund sales and performance over the past two weeks: Mutual funds scorecard: April 29 edition

News and notes (Canada)

Oak Trust purchased by Raymond James: Investment firm Raymond James Ltd. acquires Oak Trust Co.

Horizons Canada makes changes to oil ETFs: Horizons announces effort to save troubled oil ETFs

Canadian DB plans had a significant decline in the first quarter: Canadian DB plans return negative 7.1% in first quarter

Canada’s fund industry lagging behind other countries in tax and regulations: Canada’s fund regulation, taxation falling short for investors: Morningstar

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