U.S. Stocks May Open Lower Following Spike In Jobless Claims

Stocks may move to the downside in early trading on Thursday as traders get their first official look at the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. The major index futures are currently pointing to a lower open for the markets, with the Dow futures down by 174 points.

Early selling pressure may be generated following the release of a report from the Labor Department showing a record spike in first-time claims for unemployment benefits in the week ended March 21st.

The Labor Department said initial jobless claims skyrocketed to 3,283,000, an increase of 3,001,000 from the previous week’s revised level of 282,000.

Economists had expected jobless claims to spike to about 1.5 million from the 281,000 originally reported for the previous week.

With the record-breaking increase, the number of seasonally adjusted initial claims reached the highest level in the history of the seasonally adjusted series. The previous high was 695,000 in October of 1982.

While the jump in jobless claims was widely expected on Wall Street, the magnitude of the increase may still come as a shock to some investors.

Nonetheless, the negative sentiment may be partly offset by last night’s news that the Senate finally voted to approve a massive $2 trillion stimulus package in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Shrugging off concerns among some Republican Senators about an expansion of unemployment benefits, the Senate eventually voted 96 to 0 in favor of the bill.

The bill now heads to the Democrat-controlled House, which will be under pressure to quickly send the legislation to President Donald Trump’s desk.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said the House will take up the legislation on Friday with strong bipartisan support.

Stocks moved notably higher over the course of the trading session on Wednesday before giving back ground going into the close. The major averages pulled back sharply in late-day trading, with the tech-heavy Nasdaq sliding into negative territory.

The major averages subsequently finished the session mixed. While the Nasdaq fell 33.56 points or 0.5 percent to 7,384.30, the Dow surged up 495.64 points or 2.4 percent to 21,200.55 and the S&P 500 jumped 28.23 points or 1.2 percent to 2,475.56.

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Thursday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index plunged by 4.5 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index fell by 0.6 percent.

The major European markets have also moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index has tumble by 2.7 percent, the French CAC 40 Index is down by 2.4 percent and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index is down by 2.1 percent.

In commodities trading, crude oil futures are slumping $0.78 to $23.71 a barrel after rising $0.48 to $24.49 a barrel on Wednesday. Meanwhile, after tumbling $27.40 to $1,633.40 ounce in the previous session, gold futures are jumping $20.70 to $1,654.10 an ounce.

On the currency front, the U.S. dollar is trading at 109.67 yen compared to the 111.21 yen it fetched at the close of New York trading on Wednesday. Against the euro, the dollar is valued at $1.0943 compared to yesterday’s $1.0882.

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U.S. Stocks Close Notably Lower As Stimulus Bill Blocked In Senate

After coming under pressure early in the session, stocks fluctuated over the course of the trading day on Monday but largely remained firmly negative before closing notably lower.

With the continued drop on the day, the Dow and the S&P 500 tumbled to new three-year closing lows and the Nasdaq ended the session at its lowest closing level in over a year.

The major averages all closed in negative territory, although the Nasdaq posted a relatively modest loss. While the Nasdaq fell 18.84 points or 0.3 percent to 6,860.67, the Dow plunged 582.05 points or 3 percent to 18,591.93 and the S&P 500 plummeted 67.52 points or 2.9 percent to 2,237.40.

The lower close on Wall Street came as a massive fiscal stimulus bill once again failed to clear a procedural hurdle in the Senate.

In a largely party-line vote, Senators voted 49 to 46 in favor of the procedural motion, falling short of the 60 votes needed to advance the bill.

Most Democratic Senators voted against advancing the bill amid complaints that the legislation does too much to bail out companies and not enough to provide assistance to workers.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ken., was harshly critical of Democrats for blocking the bill, while Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., expressed optimism a deal could still be reached as soon as today.

The lack of progress on Capitol Hill partly offset the positive sentiment generated by the Federal Reserve’s announcement of extensive new measures to support the economy during the coronavirus pandemic.

Citing the tremendous hardship being caused by the outbreak, the Fed said it is committed to using its full range of tools to support households, businesses, and the U.S. economy overall in this challenging time.

The measures announced today include an unlimited expansion of the Fed’s asset purchases, with the central bank saying it will purchase Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities “in the amounts needed to support smooth market functioning and effective transmission of monetary policy to broader financial conditions and the economy.”

The Fed had previously announced it would purchase at least $500 billion of Treasury securities and at least $200 billion of mortgage-backed securities.

The latest developments come as data from Johns Hopkins University shows the number of confirmed coronavirus cases has climbed above 370,000 worldwide, with confirmed cases in the U.S. jumping above 40,000.

Sector News

Telecom stocks showed a substantial move to the downside on the day, dragging the NYSE Arca North American Telecom Index down by 8.2 percent to its lowest closing level in over seven years.

Significant weakness was also visible among housing stocks, as reflected by the 7.5 percent nosedive by the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index. The index ended the day at a five-year closing low.

Banking, natural gas, commercial real estate and utilities stocks also saw considerable weakness, moving lower along with most of the other major sectors.

On the other hand, gold stocks moved sharply amid a spike by the price of the precious metal. With gold for April delivery skyrocketing $83 to $1,567.60 an ounce, the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index surged up by 6.5 percent.

Semiconductor stocks also saw significant strength on the day, helping to limit the downside for the tech-heavy Nasdaq.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower on Monday. China’s Shanghai Composite Index plunged by 3.1 percent and Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 Index tanked by 5.6 percent, although Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index bucked the downtrend and jumped by 2 percent.

The major European markets also moved to the downside on the day. While the German DAX Index slumped by 2.1 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index plummeted by 3.3 percent and 3.8 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries moved sharply higher following the news of the Fed’s unlimited bonds purchases. Subsequently, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, tumbled by 17.4 basis points to 0.764 percent.

Looking Ahead

Trading on Tuesday may be impacted by reaction to the latest developments in Washington, as lawmakers continue to try to negotiate an agreement on a fiscal stimulus bill.

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Stocks surge has Dow flirting with bear-market exit

US unemployment claims soar as coronavirus slams economy

Last week’s jobless claims hit a record-breaking 3.28 million. FOX Business’ Lauren Simonetti with more.

U.S. equity markets clambered higher Thursday as investors digested record jobless claims and waited for the House to vote on a $2 trillion relief package.

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First-time unemployment filings surged to a record 3.28 million last week, according to the Labor Department, as the COVID-19 pandemic caused businesses to temporarily close their doors and lay off employees. The previous record was 695,000, set in 1982.

The all-time high in claims came hours after the Senate voted 96-0, passing the $2 trillion relief package that would extend aid to individuals, small businesses and corporations hit hardest by the pandemic. The House of Representatives is scheduled to debate the bill on Friday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained as many as 1,022 points, or 4.8 percent, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite climbed as much as 4.4 percent and 3.9 percent, respectively. A gain of 1,109.77 points or more would lift the Dow out of bear-market territory.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 22190.06 +989.51 +4.67%
SP500 S&P 500 2568.08 +92.52 +3.74%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 7615.449408 +231.15 +3.13%

Looking at stocks, hard-hit travel-related names are seeking direction as the status of the $2 trillion relief package remains in limbo.

Boeing shares continued to gain, adding to the 67 percent gain they’ve seen this week.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
BA BOEING COMPANY 182.35 +23.62 +14.88%

Oil majors Exxon Mobil and Chevron were weaker as West Texas Intermediate crude oil plunged 3 percent to $23.76 a barrel. U.S. shale names Continental Resources and Pioneer Natural Resources also fell.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
CVX CHEVRON CORP. 72.97 +3.70 +5.34%

Banks gained even as buying across the Treasury complex flattened the yield curve. The yield on the 10-year note was down 5.8 basis points at 0.798 percent while the yield on the 3-month bill, which fell below zero on Wednesday, was little changed at -0.048 percent.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
JPM JP MORGAN CHASE & CO. 96.48 +4.75 +5.18%
BAC BANK OF AMERICA CORP. 22.25 +1.15 +5.43%
C CITIGROUP INC. 45.17 +3.31 +7.92%
WFC WELLS FARGO & COMPANY 30.01 +1.04 +3.59%

Ford said it’s aiming to restart production at some North American plants as early as April 6. The company’s credit rating was cut to junk at S&P.

On the earnings front, Micron Technology’s results exceeded expectations and gave a stronger-than-anticipated forecast as the company said it would receive a boost as more people worked from home.

Signet Jewelers reported better-than-expected quarterly results, but suspended its dividend and did not provide financial guidance due to uncertainty caused by the coronavirus.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
F FORD MOTOR COMPANY 5.44 +0.05 +0.84%
MU MICRON TECHNOLOGY INC. 43.98 +1.48 +3.48%
SIG SIGNET JEWELERS LTD 10.30 +2.97 +40.54%

In Europe, Germany’s DAX paced the decline, down 1 percent, while France’s CAC and Britain’s FTSE were off 0.6 percent and 0.3 percent, respectively.

Asian markets were lower across the board with Japan’s Nikkei falling 4.5 percent, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng sliding 0.7 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite down 0.6 percent.

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Fed Slashing Rates Fails To Prevent Another Sell-Off On Wall Street

Stocks moved sharply lower during trading on Monday, more than offsetting the strong gains posted last Friday in the worst day for the markets in over thirty years.

With the sell-off on the day, the Dow fell to a new three-year closing low and the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 ended the day at their worst closing levels in over a year.

The major averages saw further downside going into the close, finishing the session just off their worst levels of the day. The Dow plunged 2,997.10 points or 12.9 percent to 20,188.52, the Nasdaq plummeted 970.28 points or 12.3 percent to 6,904.59 and the S&P 500 tumbled 324.89 points or 11.9 percent to 2,386.13.

Stocks initially came under pressure as traders cashed in on last Friday’s strong gains amid escalating concerns about the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Central banks around the world, including the Federal Reserve, are taking steps to provide economic stimulus to combat the effects of the virus, but the moves only seem to be exacerbating concerns about the impact of the outbreak.

On Sunday, the Fed took the unusual step of slashing interest rates by 100 basis points just days ahead of its scheduled monetary policy meeting this week.

The Fed lowered the target range for the federal funds rate to zero to 0.25 percent from 1 to 1.25 percent, noting the coronavirus outbreak has harmed communities and disrupted economic activity in many countries, including the U.S.

The central bank said it expects to maintain this target range until it is confident that the economy has weathered recent events and is on track to achieve its maximum employment and price stability goals.

In addition to cutting rates, the Fed also announced a new quantitative easing program, revealing plans to increase its holdings of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities by at least $700 billion.

“The Fed’s decision to slash interest rates to near-zero won’t stop the economy falling into a recession, but the package of liquidity-boosting measures will help prevent credit markets seizing up, reducing the risks a deeper downturn,” said Michael Pearce, Senior U.S. Economist at Capital Economics.

He added, “We expect the Fed to do whatever it takes to keep markets functioning smoothly, and to announce further QE & forward guidance to support demand should the crisis worsen significantly.”

The drastic moves by the Fed have raised some concerns that central banks around the world will run out of ammunition to deal with a deepening crisis.

Stocks saw further downside in late-day trading after President Donald Trump suggested the coronavirus pandemic would not be under control until July or August.

In a sign of the economic impact of the outbreak, the New York Fed released a report this morning showing New York manufacturing activity unexpectedly contracted in the month of March.

The New York Fed said its general business conditions index plunged to a negative 21.5 in March from a positive 12.9 in February, with a negative reading indicating a contraction in regional manufacturing activity.

Economists had expected the general business conditions index to show a much more modest decrease and remain positive at 4.0.

The steeper than expected represented the largest point decrease on record and dragged the index down to its lowest level since 2009.

Sector News

Despite the Fed slashing interest rates, rate-sensitive commercial real estate and housing stocks showed substantial moves to the downside on the day.

Reflecting the weakness in the sectors, the Dow Jones U.S. Real Estate Index and the Philadelphia Housing Sector Index plunged by 17.4 percent and 17.8 percent, respectively.

Banking stocks also moved sharply lower on the day, dragging the KBW Bank Index down by 16.2 percent to its lowest closing level in well over three years.

Software, energy, chemical, and steel stocks also saw considerable weakness, reflecting another broad based sell-off on Wall Street.

Gold stocks were among the few groups to buck the downtrend, with the NYSE Arca Gold Bugs Index spiking by 7.9 percent. The strength in the sector came despite a steep drop by the price of gold.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stocks markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved sharply lower during trading on Monday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index tumbled by 2.5 percent, while China’s Shanghai Composite Index tanked by 3.4 percent.

The major European markets also saw substantial weakness but closed well off their worst levels of the day. While the French CAC 40 Index plummeted by 4 percent, the German DAX Index and the French CAC 40 Index plunged by 5.3 percent and 5.8 percent, respectively.

In the bond market, treasuries rebounded after pulling back sharply over the past several sessions. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, tumbled by 22.3 basis points to 0.728 percent.

Looking Ahead

News on the coronavirus front is likely to remain in focus on Tuesday, potentially overshadowing reports on retail sales, industrial production and homebuilder confidence.

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U.S. Stocks Rally Into The Close As Trump Declares National Emergency

A day after the worst drop by the Dow in over thirty years, stocks showed a substantial move back to the upside during trading on Friday. The major averages fluctuated over the course of the session before experiencing a late-day rally.

The major averages spiked going into the close of trading, ending the session at their best levels of the day. The Dow soared 1,985.00 points or 9.4 percent to 23,185.62, the Nasdaq skyrocketed 673.00 points or 9.3 percent to 7,874.80 and the S&P 500 surged up 230.38 points or 9.3 percent to 2,711.02.

Despite the rebound on the day, the major averages moved sharply lower for the week. The Dow plummeted by 10.4 percent, while the Nasdaq and the S&P 500 plunged by 8.2 percent and 8.8 percent, respectively.

The late-day spike on Wall Street came after President Donald Trump declared the coronavirus outbreak a national emergency.

The declaration by Trump would free up as much as $50 billion in additional funding to combat the outbreak and allow officials to waive certain regulations to accelerate testing and care for coronavirus patients.

Trump said during a press conference in the White House Rose Garden that he expects the U.S. to have 1.4 million coronavirus test kits available within a week and a total of 5 million kits within the next month.

The president said he is also working with private sector companies to develop “drive thru” testing facilities across the country.

However, Trump said he does not want everybody running out and taking the test, saying only people with certain symptoms should be tested.

Adding to the positive sentiment, a coronavirus test developed by Swiss drug giant Roche has been granted emergency use authorization by the FDA.

The FDA said this is the first commercially distributed diagnostic test to receive emergency authorization during the coronavirus outbreak.

Roche said it is committed to delivering as many tests as possible and is going to the limits of its production capacity.

The emergency authorization of the Roche test comes amid rising concerns about the relatively low levels of coronavirus testing in the U.S.

In U.S. economic news, a report released by the University of Michigan showed a relatively modest deterioration in consumer sentiment in the month of March in light of the rampant fear over the coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent sell-off on Wall Street.

The report showed the consumer sentiment index slid to 95.9 in March after rising to 101.0 in February, although the index still came in above economist estimates for a reading of 95.0.

“Importantly, the initial response to the pandemic has not generated the type of economic panic among consumers that was present in the runup to the Great Recession,” said Surveys of Consumers chief economist Richard Curtin.

He added, “Nonetheless, the data suggest that additional declines in confidence are still likely to occur as the spread of the virus continues to accelerate.”

Sector News

Banking stocks saw considerable strength amid a continued increase in treasury yields, with the KBW Bank Index soaring by 14.8 percent.

Substantial strength also emerged among energy stocks in late-day trading after Trump pledged to purchase oil at the currently severely reduced prices to fill the U.S. strategic petroleum reserve.

Software stocks also moved sharply higher over the course of the session, driving the Dow Jones U.S. Software Index up by 12.7 percent. The index ended the previous session at a nine-month closing low.

Oracle (ORCL) and Adobe (ADBE) posted standout gains within the software sector after reporting better than expected quarterly earnings.

Steel, semiconductor, brokerage, and transportation stocks also moved sharply higher, while gold stocks bucked the uptrend amid a steep drop by the price of the precious metal.

Other Markets

In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region moved mostly lower during trading on Friday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index tanked by 6 percent while China’s Shanghai Composite Index slumped by 1.2 percent.

Meanwhile, the major European markets moved to the upside over the course of a volatile session. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index surged up by 2.5 percent, the French CAC 40 Index jumped by 1.8 percent and the German DAX Index advanced by 0.8 percent.

In the bond market, treasuries extended the pullback off record highs seen over the past few sessions. As a result, the yield on the benchmark ten-year note, which moves opposite of its price, shot up by 10.2 basis points to 0.951 percent.

Looking ahead

News on the coronavirus front is likely to remain in focus next week, although traders are also likely to keep a close eye on the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decision next Wednesday.

CME Group’s FedWatch Tool currently indicates a 69.0 percent chance the Fed will slash rates to zero to 0.25 percent after lowering rates to 1 to 1.25 percent in an emergency rate cut earlier this month.

Reports on retail sales, industrial production, housing starts, and existing home sales are also due to be released next week but may be viewed as old news due to the intensification of the coronavirus outbreak.

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Dow battles to protect 20K as Congress crafts 3rd coronavirus stimulus

Why is there resistance to Trump’s coronavirus stimulus package?

Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas, explains why it’s important for Congress to help Americans financially in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. equity markets see-sawed between gains and losses Friday as lawmakers continued to work towards hammering out a third coronavirus stimulus package.

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The measure would guarantee low-interest loans for small businesses, give cash payments to most Americans, provide loans to the industries hardest hit by the virus-related slowdown and extend funding to hospitals and medical centers.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average struggled to stay above 20,000, the benchmark it touched in the first year of President Trump's administration, after slipping 50 points, or 0.25 percent in early trading while the S&P 500 dropped 0.6 percent. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite, meanwhile, climbed 0.8 percent.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 20080.29 -6.90 -0.03%
SP500 S&P 500 2425.2 +15.81 +0.66%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 7281.202294 +130.62 +1.83%

Dow heavyweight Boeing saw some relief after four days of declines that erased 43 percent of its market value. On Thursday evening, former United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley resigned from the aerospace giant’s board.

Airlines, cruise operators, casino operators and other industries ravaged by the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic also saw big gains.

Elsewhere, General Electric surged after receiving regulatory approval to forge ahead with the $21.4 billion sale of its biopharmaceutical unit to Danaher, so long as some conditions are met.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %

Walmart shares gained after the company said it would hire 150,000 temporary workers to handle a spike in traffic caused by the pandemic. Meanwhile, retailer Ross Stores announced it was shutting sites across the U.S. through April 3.

Blue-chip tech stocks also pushed higher, with Tesla in focus after the electric-vehicle maker said it would idle production at its Fremont, California, plant beginning March 24.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
WMT WALMART INC. 116.47 -2.98 -2.49%
ROST ROSS STORES INC. 69.81 +4.81 +7.40%
TSLA TESLA INC. 467.19 +39.55 +9.25%

Looking at commodities, West Texas Intermediate crude oil was trading down 5.4 percent at $24.50 per barrel. Despite the losses, drillers and explorers that have been decimated by oil’s price drop saw some relief after a rally on Thursday.

Heavy buying of U.S. Treasurys flattened the yield curve, but banks still gained. The 2-year yield fell by 3.7 basis points to 0.384 percent while the 10-year yield was lower by 13.7 bps at 0.992 percent.

In Europe, markets rallied across the board with France’s CAC gaining 4.4 percent, Germany’s DAX climbing 3.8 percent and Britain’s FTSE adding 2 percent.


Asian markets were sharply higher, with South Korea’s Kospi surging 7.4 percent, bouncing off an 11-year low, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and China’s Shanghai Composite were up 5.1 percent and 1.6 percent, respectively. Japan’s Nikkei was closed for a holiday.

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Dow drops over 2,300 points in one day

New York (CNN Business)Wall Street’s love affair with President Donald Trump is officially over.

The president’s prime time speech failed to assuage fears about coronavirus. It did not outline the US strategy to test for and treat it. And two of his major points had to be walked back later.
“Stocks are cratering on the president’s remarks from the White House,” economist Chris Rupkey of MUFG Union Bank wrote to his clients.

    Dow futures slid as many as 700 points when the president announced a 30-day ban on travel from Europe to the United States, including trade and cargo.
    An hour later when Trump clarified his scripted speech — correcting the record that the travel ban was for foreign passengers only, not Americans, and that it didn’t include cargo — the market fell even further.

    The view? The travel ban was bad enough. But the clean up showed that the administration still doesn’t have a handle on the threat or a plan.
    The president “took coronavirus social distancing to the max by saying he was barring entry to the country from citizens from the European continent for thirty days,” Rupkey wrote. “Didn’t the Great Depression get started by countries putting up trade barriers between themselves and the rest of the world?”
    The president also told the nation co-payments for the treatment of coronavirus would be covered by their insurance companies. Except the White House had to walk that back to say insurers were required to cover co-payments for testing only, not treatment. There was only cursory mention of expanding testing (something most Americans are concerned about) and nothing about how prepared hospitals are for surge capacity (something public health officials want to know.)
    If the speech was meant to show resolve and leadership and calm markets, it was a swing and a miss.
    “The psychology of this got much worse instead of better because of this speech,” says David Axelrod, who wrote speeches for President Barack Obama. Axelrod says the blueprint for an oval office address in a crisis is 1) be truthful 2) be open about the scope of the problem 3) clearly outline the plan to address it.
    “The president failed on all fronts last night,” Axelrod said.
    Markets agreed.
    Stocks fell deeper into bear market territory at the opening bell Thursday, with the selling so ferocious, it triggered a circuit breaker to pause trading. In just 23 days, the S&P 500 (SPX) tumbled from record high to down 20% — something that took 274 days during the 2008 bear market.
    On February 19, the S&P 500 was up 49% during Trump’s time in office. Now it’s up just over 10%.
    Investors loved his deregulation and corporate tax cuts. His policies nursed along an aging economic expansion, pulling the Obama recovery into a new decade. But the love affair appears to be over — as seen in an 8,000 point dive in the Dow in just a few weeks.
    Coronavirus is a classic “Black Swan” event: an unforeseen market surprise. Trump has no control over the event itself, only his response to it. How a president handles such events is a test of leadership, teamwork and messaging.
    Economist Mohammed el-Erian says a global recession is “very, very likely” and that the US response needs to be more robust.
    “It has to come across as a whole-of-government approach. There is a conductor, everybody in the orchestra knows what they’re doing, and they’re coordinated,” says el-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz.
    “Day one is about stress, things like free testing, covering the uninsured, paid emergency leave, paid medical leave, strengthening unemployment insurance,” el-Erian says. “Phase two is about following that up. Once you’ve built the bridge, the immediate bridge, with well-focused stimulus and infrastructure spending that promotes long-term growth.”
    “You need a very clear plan,” el-Erian adds.
    The White House has waived the tax filing deadline for most individuals and deferred taxes for affected businesses. And Congress has passed an $8.3 billion emergency funding package that provides money for testing and funds for community health.

      But Congress runs the risk of infuriating investors if a cogent plan doesn’t materialize, says Greg Valliere, chief financial strategist for AGF Investments.
      “A payroll tax cut looks unlikely…but embarrassed lawmakers may pass a modest bill in the next couple of days that would aid virus victims and help small businesses,” Valliere wrote in a note to clients. “Whether a House-Senate conference committee can agree quickly on this bill is unclear, but there’s a growing chance of a compromise by tomorrow.”
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      Dow flirts with 2,000-point loss as coronavirus pain intensifies

      Selling stocks during an economic downturn is a bad idea: Financial expert

      Servo Wealth Management CEO Eric Nelson, CFA, says investors should stick to their initial plan and not let fear drive their decisions in the stock market.

      U.S. equity markets cratered Thursday after President Trump suspended travel from Europe for 30 days in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

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      At midday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average had tumbled 1,950 points, or 8.4 percent, narrowing earlier, intermittent losses of more than 2,000 points. The S&P 500 was down 7.3 percent, while the Nasdaq dropped 6.7 percent.

      U.S. equity markets were halted shortly after the opening bell when the S&P fell by 7 percent. Trading, which resumed after a 15-minute stoppage, will be halted a second time if the S&P 500 loses 13 percent

      Ticker Security Last Change Change %
      I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 21599.27 -1,953.95 -8.30%
      SP500 S&P 500 2539.8 -201.58 -7.35%
      I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 7408.858628 -543.19 -6.83%

      The early selling, which pushed all three of the major averages deep into bear-market territory, is on track to end the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite’s historic bull markets that began on March 9, 2009. The Dow’s bull-run ended on Wednesday. A bear market is defined by a 20 percent drop from the recent peak.

      “We made a lifesaving move with early action on China,” Trump said as he explained the European ban, which excludes the U.K., in an Oval Office address on Wednesday evening. “Now we must take the same action with Europe.”

      COVID-19 has infected 14,858 people and killed 702 in Italy, France, Spain and Germany, according to the latest update from the World Health Organization.

      Looking at stocks, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines plunged amid worries that the European travel ban would further damage earnings already hindered by slowing demand due to the virus.

      Ticker Security Last Change Change %
      AAL AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP INC. 15.03 -1.24 -7.60%
      DAL DELTA AIR LINES INC. 36.79 -5.88 -13.78%
      UAL UNITED AIRLINES HLDG. 42.38 -6.96 -14.11%

      Still, “our sense is that there have already been so many transatlantic cancellations, that it may not make much of a difference,” Deutsche Bank analyst Michael Linenberg wrote in a note to clients on Thursday.

      Other travel-related names, including cruise operators Carnival Corp. and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings tanked, as did online travel-booking sites Booking Holdings and Expedia.

      Ticker Security Last Change Change %
      CCL CARNIVAL CORP. 18.07 -3.68 -16.92%

      West Texas Intermediate crude plunged 5.8 percent to $31.45 a barrel, dragging oil majors ExxonMobil and Chevron lower. Meanwhile, battered U.S. shale companies such as Continental Resources and Pioneer Natural Resources remained under pressure.

      Occidental Petroleum was weaker after activist investor Carl Icahn told The Wall Street Journal that he raised his stake in the company to almost 10 percent from 2.5 percent.

      Stocks gaining ground were few and far between. Medical-mask maker Alpha Pro Technology soared after reporting heavy demand for its products, and Inovio Pharmaceuticals spiked after receiving a $5 million grant from the Gates Foundation for testing a device that may be used to deliver a COVID-19 vaccine.

      On the earnings front, Dollar General reported better than expected top and bottom-line results, and said that while it has not experienced supply-chain disruptions due to the COVID-19, there's “no guarantee” its business would be insulated from the outbreak.

      U.S. Treasurys surged, pushing the yield on the 10-year note down 18.4 basis points to 0.688 percent. Earlier this week, the benchmark yield touched a record low of 0.38 percent.

      European markets were hammered, with Britain’s FTSE plunging 7 percent and both Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC 40 down by more than 6 percent.

      Overnight, markets ended sharply lower across Asia. Japan’s Nikkei tumbled 4.4 percent while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng and China’s Shanghai Composite shed 3.7 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively.

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      U.S. Stocks Seeing Further Upside In Afternoon Trading

      After moving significantly higher early in the session, stocks have seen some further upside in recent trading on Wednesday. The major averages have climbed to new highs for the session, largely offsetting yesterday’s steep losses.

      Currently, the major averages are just off their best levels of the day. The Dow is up 814.62 points or 3.1 percent at 26,732.03, the Nasdaq is up 240.48 points or 2.8 percent at 8,924.57 and the S&P 500 is up 86.45 points or 2.9 percent at 3,089.82.

      The rally on Wall Street comes after former Vice President Joe Biden performed much better than expected in yesterday’s Super Tuesday contests, including an upset victory over Senator Bernie Sanders in delegate-rich Texas.

      Sanders earned a significant chunk of delegates by winning California, but Biden pulled off big victories in a number of smaller states such as North Carolina, Virginia and Minnesota.

      The results of yesterday’s contests would appear to set up a head-to-head matchup between the very liberal Sanders and the more moderate Biden.

      While either Democratic candidate is expected to face a tough fight against President Donald Trump, Biden is seen as likely to be a much more pro-business president than Sanders.

      Adding to the positive sentiment, the Institute for Supply Management released a report showing service sector growth unexpectedly accelerated to a one-year high in February.

      The ISM said its non-manufacturing index climbed to 57.3 in February from 55.5 in January, with a reading above 50 indicating growth in service sector activity.

      The increase by the reading on service sector activity came as a surprise to economists, who had expected the index to edge down to 54.9.

      With the unexpected uptick, the non-manufacturing index reached its highest level since hitting 58.5 in February of 2019.

      A separate report from payroll processor ADP released showed private sector employment increased by more than expected in the month of February, although the report also showed a notable downward revision to the surge in jobs in the previous month.

      ADP said private sector employment climbed by 183,000 jobs in February compared to economist estimates for an increase of about 170,000 jobs.

      However, the report also showed the spike in jobs in January was downwardly revised to 209,000 from the previously reported 291,000.

      Sector News

      Health insurance stocks continue to turn in some of the market’s best performances on the heels of Biden’s big night, with Anthem (ANTM), UnitedHealth (UNH) and Cigna (CI) posting standout gains.

      Biden has called for expanding the healthcare reform law known as Obamacare rather than scrapping private insurance in favor of a Medicare-for-all plan, as Sanders has proposed.

      Significant strength also remains visible among pharmaceutical stocks, as reflected by the 4.3 percent jump by the NYSE Arca Pharmaceutical Index.

      Interest rate-sensitive utilities, commercial real estate and housing stocks also continue to see considerable strength after yesterday’s surprise rate cut by the Federal Reserve.

      Semiconductor, biotechnology, software and retail stocks have also shown strong moves to the upside, while oil service stocks continue to see notable weakness despite an increase by the price of crude oil.

      Other Markets

      In overseas trading, stock markets across the Asia-Pacific region turned in a mixed performance during trading on Wednesday. Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index inched up by 0.1 percent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index edged down by 0.2 percent.

      Meanwhile, the major European markets all moved significantly higher on the day. While the U.K.’s FTSE 100 Index jumped by 1.5 percent, the French CAC 40 Index and the German DAX Index surged up by 1.3 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

      In the bond market, treasuries are seeing further upside, once again pushing the yield on the benchmark ten-year now below 1 percent. The ten-year yield, which moves opposite of its price, is currently down by 1.9 basis points at 0.991 percent.

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      Dow, S&P and Nasdaq score biggest point gains ever as stocks make coronavirus comeback

      Which stocks are up during coronavirus market drop?

      Barron’s Ben Levisohn, Carleton English and Jack Hough give their investing tips for the coming week.

      U.S. equity markets surged Monday as Wall Street rebounded from its worst week since the financial crisis and has President Trump and U.S. health officials made more progress in developing a plan to combat the coronavirus.

      Continue Reading Below

      The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose over 1,294 points or 5 percent in what is the biggest point gain ever. Ditto for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq from a point gain of 136 and 384 points respectively.

      The rally comes after a volatile overnight session saw Dow futures swing by more than 1,100 points and the U.S. 10-year yield sink to a record low 1.03 percent.

      Ticker Security Last Change Change %
      I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 25917.41 -785.91 -2.94%
      SP500 S&P 500 3003.37 -86.86 -2.81%
      I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 8684.089785 -268.07 -2.99%


      Last week, the Dow Jones Industrial Average tumbled more than 3,500 amid coronavirus fears. Both the Dow and S&P 500 are trying to avoid an eighth straight day of losses, something that hasn’t happened since the Friday before the 2016 election.

      Looking at stocks, consumer goods names rallied amid signs consumers were hoarding goods just in case the outbreak causes lengthy home quarantines.

      Ticker Security Last Change Change %
      K KELLOGG 62.65 -0.49 -0.78%
      MDLZ MONDELEZ INTERNATIONAL INC. 54.79 -0.81 -1.46%
      CPB CAMPBELL SOUP CO. 47.88 -0.10 -0.21%

      Meanwhile, Co-Diagnostics soared after announcing plans to provide coronavirus test kits to U.S. labs.

      Ticker Security Last Change Change %
      CODX CO DIAGNOSTICS INC 14.36 -3.45 -19.37%

      Apple shares gained after Oppenheimer said the company’s “products and services will prove more resilient than competitive products in uncertain times” and upgraded shares to “outperform.”

      General Electric was little changed after J.P. Morgan Chase upgraded shares to “neutral” and raised its price target to $8 from $5. On Sunday, former GE CEO Jack Welch died at the age of 84.

      Ticker Security Last Change Change %
      AAPL APPLE INC. 289.32 -9.49 -3.18%
      GE GENERAL ELECTRIC COMPANY 10.88 -0.33 -2.94%

      Meanwhile, airlines were mostly lower after more signs the outbreak will take a toll on business. American Airlines and Delta Air Lines announced the cancellation of service to and from Milan through late April and United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz said the airline would “likely” need to cut more flights from its schedule.

      Ticker Security Last Change Change %
      UAL UNITED AIRLINES HLDG. 58.29 -2.97 -4.85%
      DAL DELTA AIR LINES INC. 46.18 -0.98 -2.08%
      AAL AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP INC. 17.85 -1.01 -5.36%

      Casino operators Wynn Resorts and MGM International fell after Macao, the gaming capital of the world, reporting gross gaming revenue plunged by a record 87.8 percent year over year to 3.1 billion patacas ($386.5 million) in February.

      Ticker Security Last Change Change %
      WYNN WYNN RESORTS LIMITED 102.44 -5.50 -5.10%
      MGM MGM RESORTS INTERNATIONAL 23.30 -1.75 -6.99%

      Cruise operators Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line slid following the news Japanese operator Luminous Cruise filed for bankruptcy amid a slew of cancellations caused by the outbreak.

      Ticker Security Last Change Change %
      CCL CARNIVAL CORP. 31.83 -1.23 -3.72%
      RCL ROYAL CARIBBEAN CRUISES 78.19 -2.37 -2.94%

      Commodities were sharply higher with West Texas Intermediate crude oil up 4.5 percent to $46.75 a barrel and gold climbing by 1.8 percent to $1,592.30 an ounce.

      European markets were mixed with Britain's FTSE up 1.1 percent France's CAC higher by 0.4 percent. Germany's DAX was down by 0.3 percent.

      Overnight, a monthly purchasing managers’ index released Monday by Caixin magazine showed Chinese factory activity fell to 40.3 in February from 51.1 in January as the outbreak forced the temporary closure of facilities around much of the country. A separate report released Saturday by China’s National Bureau of Statistics showed a plunge to 35.7 from 50. Still, business confidence rose to a five-year high amid hopes Beijing would provide stimulus to cushion the economy.


      Markets rallied across Asia as China’s Shanghai Composite surged 3.2 percent, Japan’s Nikkei jumped 1 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng added 0.6 percent.

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