Many tech stocks jumped significantly higher just before the closing bell on Friday. Graphics chip designer NVIDIA (NASDAQ:NVDA) closed 11.4% higher, communications-chip designer Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) ended the day at a 13.1% gain, and wireless network operator T-Mobile US (NASDAQ:TMUS) posted a gain of 11.2%. Audio-chip specialist Cirrus Logic (NASDAQ:CRUS) saw an even sharper jump to 15.9% and barcode scanner company Zebra Technologies (NASDAQ:ZBRA) stopped at 13.9%.
All of these dramatic jumps were triggered by the same event. Just before the closing bell, President Donald Trump gave a speech outlining a more active response to the coronavirus outbreak, making it easier for Americans to get tested and get medical help if necessary. Every market tracker started the news conference on a low note, falling in unison as Trump delivered his opening lines. The tenor changed in a hurry as medical professionals and business leaders stepped up to explain a new approach to coronavirus testing in America.
The COVID-19 disease that is the result of the novel coronavirus is weighing heavy on nearly every sector of the global economy right now. Containment efforts are canceling business meetings, concerts, and sporting events. Stores are closing and business owners are asking many of their employees work from home to the greatest extent possible. The longer this virus-based downturn remains, the worse the economic damage will be. This applies both to business-to-business specialists such as Zebra and for more consumer-oriented companies like T-Mobile and Nvidia. Smartphone components makers Cirrus Logic and Qualcomm are also vulnerable, straddling that line.
The improved virus-testing plan is a start but it's too early to call this a complete market recovery. Nearly all of the five stocks above still traded lower over the last three days, ranging from Qualcomm's 3.9% drop to Zebra's 9% plunge. The outlier was T-Mobile, which stands on the threshold of completing its long-awaited merger with fellow network operator Sprint.
In all likelihood, we're looking at more volatility next week, next month, and next quarter. The COVID-19 outbreak hasn't peaked yet and we really don't know how great the economic slowdown will be. So it's best to take Friday's sudden surge with a solid dose of sodium chloride and get ready to buy more high-quality stocks on the next virus-related market panic.