1. Dow set for another decline
U.S. stock futures were pointing to an over 100-point drop for the Dow Jones Industrial Average at Thursday’s open, one day after a wild Wall Street session driven by mounting coronavirus concerns. The Dow on Wednesday plunged more than 2,300 points at the lows before finishing down about 1,300 points, or 6.3%,, to 19,898. It was the first close below 20,000 for the Dow since February 2017 and nearly wiped out all the previously robust gains during the Trump presidency. As of Wednesday’s close, the Dow was down about 32.7% from last month’s record highs. The 10-year Treasury yield dipped early Thursday after soaring Wednesday as investors sold bonds ahead of what’s expected to be a flood of new debt supply to pay for coronavirus relief plans.
President Donald Trump has signed a $100 billion coronavirus aid package into law, including emergency paid leave for workers as well as free testing. The Trump administration is also seeking an $850 billion to $1 trillion stimulus measure, which could include direct payments to Americans and relief to suffering industries. The Federal Reserve took another page out of its 2008 financial crisis-era playbook Wednesday night, invoking its emergency authority to create a backstop for prime money market mutual funds. The European Central Bank launched an $820 billion bond-buying program late Wednesday.
3. NYSE to temporarily close trading floor
Traders work during the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) on March 17, 2020 at Wall Street in New York City.
Johannes Eisele | AFP | Getty Images
The New York Stock Exchange, starting Monday, will temporarily close its trading floor and move fully to electronic trading after two people tested positive for the coronavirus at screenings set up this week. The stock market has closed at times over the years, such as during World War II, in the wake of 9/11 terrorist attacks in 2001 and superstorm Sandy in 2012. But this will be the first time the physical trading floor of the NYSE has ever shut independently while electronic trading continues. CME Group closed its Chicago trading floor last week in a precaution due to the outbreak.
U.S. coronavirus cases topped 9,400 with 150 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, a spike in infections of more than 40% in 24 hours. About a third of those overall cases are in New York, the state with the worst outbreak. It has roughly triple the cases of Washington state. However, New York’s death toll of 20 is far less than the 68 fatalities in Washington state. Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Wednesday there are likely “tens of thousands” of coronavirus cases in the state. An increase in testing is “revealing more cases,” Cuomo told CNN.
5. China reports no new locally transmitted infections
Volunteers add water and disinfectant to a remote controlled robot during an operation to disinfect a residental area amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province on March 16, 2020.
STR | AFP | Getty Images
For the first time since the coronavirus appeared in the Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei province in December, China recorded no locally transmitted cases. In recent days, China has increasingly focused its counter-outbreak efforts on inbound travelers. China’s 81,000 cases and 3,249 deaths now only account for about 37% of total global infections and deaths. Cases around the world surpassed 219,000 with 8,939 deaths and more than 84,000 recoveries. Italy, with the largest number of cases outside China, has recorded about 35,700 infections. But the 2,978 deaths there are approaching the number of fatalities in China.