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The Dow Jones is flat this morning as the coronavirus sparks fear of economic collapse. Congress just unveiled a new emergency spending plan in response.
U.S. core capital goods orders actually increased in March. That said, the United States saw a sharp decline (14.4%) in durable goods over the month. Here's what else is moving the Dow today...
First, here are the numbers from Thursday for the Dow, S&P 500, and Nasdaq:
|Index||Previous Close||Point Change||Percentage Change|
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
- The coronavirus has now infected more than 2.6 million people around the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. The total number of U.S. cases topped 800,000, according to the same group. The ongoing decline in daily cases has been a major catalyst in the rise of the U.S. equity markets over the last month. Major indexes have now jumped more than 25% from March lows.
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- Meanwhile, the House of Representatives passed another bill that supplies $484 billion to small businesses and hospitals. The bill now goes to U.S. President Donald Trump's desk, where he is expected to sign it quickly. The new law would bring the total U.S. commitment to addressing COVID-19 to more than $2.5 trillion across four different pieces of legislation in less than a month. The bill comes as the economy deals with news that the real unemployment rate sits around 23% across the country. It contains $310 billion for the Paycheck Protection Program, $60 billion for the Small Business Administration, $75 billion for hospitals, and another $25 billion for COVID testing.
- U.S. crude prices continue to tick higher as markets anticipate a greater cut to U.S. production. The June oil futures contract increased by 19.7% to hit $16.50 per barrel. Markets have reacted positively as well to the news the that the USO ETF, the world's largest oil fund, has stopped trading. The ultra-speculative ETF purchases a large number of futures contracts but has no intention of taking physical delivery in Cushing, Okla. Still, WTI crude is now off about 70% since the start of the year.
Stocks to Watch Today: GILD, AXP, CLR
- Shares of Gilead Sciences Inc. (NASDAQ: GILD) are trying to bounce back after news broke that the firm's drug, remdesivir, failed to improve the condition of coronavirus patients. The news broke after the World Health Organization accidentally published a report about a Chinese clinical trial. The drug company said that its study was terminated due to low number of enrollees. That said, some pundits have encouraged investors to wait for the release of studies from U.S.-based trials.
- Shares of American Express Co. (NYSE: AXP) rallied about 1.5% after the company reported earnings before the bell. The firm reported EPS of $1.98, a figure that beat consensus estimates of $1.43. That said, the company is raising concerns about credit reserves and has noted that customers started cutting spending around late February and early March as the threat of COVID-19 ramped up around the world.
- Shares of Continental Resources Inc. (NYSE: CLR) rallied 3.5% after the company announced it was shuttering wells in North Dakota and eliminating production for the time being. The firm also told customers that it would not provide oil at current market prices. Continental is a firm that failed to hedge its production back when crude was sitting around $50 per barrel. Shares of CLR are off 61% since the start of the year.
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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.