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Shares of the drug company surged 16% after the bell on a report from a Chicago hospital that showed progress from Remdesivir. More on this below.
First, here are the numbers from Thursday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
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Now let's take a look at what I consider to be the most important market events to start your day.
The Top Stock Market Stories for Friday
- Johns Hopkins University announced that the number of cases around the world has topped 2 million, with more than 650,000 in the United States alone. The number of cases continues to expand across southern states like Louisiana and Georgia. Meanwhile, China's National Health Commission announced that its official death toll had increased by more than 35%.
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- We've been paying close attention to March economic data from the United States, but today's highlights center on China. This morning, China announced that its economy shrank by 6.8% in the first quarter as the country dealt with the spread of coronavirus. Beijing had engaged in a large shutdown of its economy to reduce human contact and the spread of the virus. This was the first time that the Chinese economy contracted in Q1 since 1992.
- Remdesivir has shown progress in other treatment studies; however, the question is whether it can help reduce investors' anxiety about the surging U.S. unemployment situation. A treatment would likely provide a better path to reopening the U.S. economy sooner than the time it would take to develop a vaccine. The treatment doesn't require universal transmission because it will only require usage among infected people.
Stocks to Watch Today: BA, GE, F, GM, PG
- Shares of Boeing Inc. (NYSE: BA) rallied 7% on news that the aircraft manufacturer plans to reopen production in the Seattle area by April 20. The firm announced it will implement a string of physical distancing standards to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
- Shares of General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE), Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F), and General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) all jumped after they signed contracts with the U.S. government to produce tens of thousands of ventilators. General Electric is working with Ford on a plan to produce 50,000 units. GM will work with Ventec Life Systems to produce 30,000 ventilators.
- Shares of Proctor & Gamble Co. (NYSE: PG) are on the rise this morning after the firm reported strong earnings expectations. The company benefited from the rush of consumers stocking up on staples ahead of the social distancing requirements.
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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.