Photo: Wang Ying/Xinhua via Getty Images

Stocks have clawed back a fraction of its Thursday losses, the worst day for the market since mid-March.

By the numbers: The S&P 500, Dow Jones Industrial Average and Nasdaq Composite opened more than 2% higher on Friday morning.

Why it matters: Volatility looks to be back (at least for now) after a persistent stock rally in recent weeks that was unfazed by the economic downturn caused by the pandemic.

  • The S&P 500 is still about 37% above the lowest point of the stock market slump earlier this year.

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Sports bettors may be a driving force behind the stock market surge

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Professional investors have largely abandoned the stock market amid the coronavirus pandemic, but sports bettors and bored millennials have jumped into the retail stock trading market with both feet.

Why it matters: They may be a driving force pushing U.S. stocks to their recent highs — and potentially driving them further.

Markets swell as the economy shrinks

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The economy is sputtering, but the markets are thriving — a highly unusual event that shows how the coronavirus has thrown all bets off.

Why it matters: The disconnect adds to the wealth gap. The richest 10% of households — who own 84% of stocks — are getting richer, while millions of out-of-work Americans cross their fingers that pandemic unemployment benefits will be extended.

Investors say ignore the coronavirus pandemic and buy stocks

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

U.S. economic data are crumbling as increasing coronavirus cases keep consumers at home and force more cities and states to restrict commerce, but the stock market has continued to rise.

What's happening: Bullish fund managers are starting to lay down bets that it will be this way for a while. "The reason is: You have monetary and fiscal policy pushing the economy out of a problem and that is very, very bullish," Andrew Slimmon, senior portfolio manager at Morgan Stanley Investment Management, tells Axios.