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The Dow Jones will attempt to rebound today after a wild Tuesday trading session. Markets continue to weigh the rising number of coronavirus cases and the impending economic impact of the virus.
Here are the numbers from Tuesday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
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Now here's a closer look at today's most important market events and stocks. We'll also discuss the stories that slipped under the radar of the mainstream financial press on Wednesday.
The Top Stock Market Stories for Wednesday
- This morning, the total number of coronavirus cases around the globe topped more than 1.43 million. In the United States, the number of cases now sits at a little more than 400,000 people. That latter figure has doubled in a week. On Tuesday, U.S. President Donald Trump blamed the World Health Organization for getting "every aspect" of the pandemic wrong. Trump and Republicans have threatened to withhold funding to the global health organization, which was slow to respond and took China's estimates as fact and may have worked to downplay the potential spread.
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- Former U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke rejects all concerns about the United States falling into a depression similar to the 1930s. Bernanke, a student of financial crisis, led the U.S. monetary reaction to the 2008 financial crisis by pressing for large injections of liquidity into the system to stave off deflation and a cash crunch. Although he argues that GDP could contract by up to 30% this quarter, he argued that this crisis would not resemble the 12-year crisis we faced in the 1930s. That said, the United States actually had two depressions in the 1930s, one at the onset, and then a short, 18-month depression in 1937.
- Oil prices were gaining steam again on Wednesday as investors prepare for a conversation this week between OPEC and Russia. The markets appear somewhat optimistic that the two sides can reach an agreement on a production cap to crude. However, reports indicate that Russia is pressing for the United States to also take part in an agreement to cap production as well. The meeting coincides with reports that U.S. crude stocks surged again this week by 11.9 million barrels, according to API.
Stocks to Watch Today: TSLA, SQ, MRO
- Tesla Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA) announced that it will slash salaried employees' pay and furlough workers' hours to curb COVID-19. The outbreak of the virus has forced the company to shut down production for the foreseeable future. CEO Elon Musk has faced criticism for his efforts to keep production running despite California's "stay at home" orders. In addition, Musk's firm promised to ship ventilators to New York State, but they turned out to be ordinary CPAP machines. That said, shares of TSLA are up this morning.
- Square Inc. (NYSE: SQ) CEO Jack Dorsey has pledged $1 billion in company stock to COVID-19 relief programs. This represents about 25% of Dorsey's total wealth. In the announcement, Dorsey said "after we disarm this pandemic," the Start Small foundation, which received the stock, will focus on girls' health and education, and universal basic income.
- Marathon Oil Corp. (NYSE: MRO) is the latest to announce large cuts to its capital expenditures. The company reportedly slashed its CAPEX budget for 2020 by about 50% year over year. The firm also said it will enact "frac holidays" during the second quarter in key development projects in the Bakken and Eagle Ford basins.
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About the Author
Garrett Baldwin is a globally recognized research economist, financial writer, consultant, and political risk analyst with decades of trading experience and degrees in economics, cybersecurity, and business from Johns Hopkins, Purdue, Indiana University, and Northwestern.