Wall Street caps best month in decades with a sell-off

Stocks on Wall Street finished a banner month with a thud, as data on spending and unemployment painted a brutal economic picture for investors.

The Dow ended the day down nearly 300 points. The S&P 500 fell nearly a percent and the Nasdaq also dropped but only slightly.

A new report Thursday showed another 3.8 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, bringing the total to a staggering 30 million since lockdowns began.

Plus, consumer spending plunged in March by the most on record.

Yet, despite the bleak data and a down-day for the market, the Dow and S&P notched their largest monthly percentage gains in decades.

The Dow rose 11 percent the month of April and the S&P nearly 13%. While the Nasdaq had its best month since June 2000, it gained more than 15% this month.

Greg Hahn, chief investment officer at Winthrop Capital Management, says some resilient stocks drove the epic rally.


"When you look at tech. Tech is driving this. The top 5 stocks now represent 20% of the S&P 500 from a market-value standpoint. But that employment number was brutal. So it's a bad day for a good month - is how I would put it."

Two of those tech heavyweights reported earnings after the bell.

Apple sales and profits beat Wall Street expectations and CEO Tim Cook gave some encouraging news, saying sales in China were "headed in the right direction" as the country starts to reopen.

Meanwhile Amazon delivered a warning to investors that sent shares lower after hours.

In the press release, CEO Jeff Bezos said "If you’re a shareowner in Amazon, you may want to take a seat, because we’re not thinking small."

Amazon said it could post its first quarterly loss in five years because its spending at least $4 billion to keep up with a surge in online orders.