Stocks close higher after US extends virus safety measures – msnNOW


Dow futures point to sharp losses at Friday’s open as House members scramble to get back to Washington to vote on the $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill.

Dow futures were pointing to sharp losses at Friday’s open. Questions are emerging on whether the House can organize a vote before the weekend on the massive Senate-passed coronavirus economic relief package. On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average surged over 1,350 points, or 6.4%, capping its biggest three-session winning streak since 1931. However, it was still 23.7% off last month’s record highs. (CNBC)
* Treasury yields edge lower as investors weigh coronavirus spread and stimulus (CNBC)
The U.S. has becomes the nation with the most coronavirus cases, topping China and Italy. On Friday, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he’s tested positive for coronavirus. Globally, there are more than 542,700 cases, 24,360 deaths and over 123,400 recoveries. (CNBC)
* Novartis: ‘Too soon’ to know whether malaria drug could be coronavirus vaccine (CNBC)* Singapore will jail and fine people who do not keep a 1-meter physical distance in public (CNBC)* Alphabet’s Verily ramps up drive-through testing with 1,000 Google volunteers (CNBC)
House members were scrambling to get back to Washington to vote Friday on the $2 trillion stimulus bill. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., who opposes the measure, has threatened to demand a recorded vote, instead of just a voice vote, which would require at least 216 House members to be present to vote. (NBC News)
On the U.S. economic calendar, the government issues at 8:30 a.m. ET personal income and spending data for February, a time period that covers the early days of the coronavirus crisis in the U.S. In another consumer snapshot, but from a  month later, the University of Michigan issues its final March consumer sentiment index. On corporate earnings, there are no major companies reporting today. (CNBC)
Gap (GPS) pulled the full-year forecast that it had issued earlier this month and also suspended its dividend, as all its stores close due to the coronavirus outbreak. Gap also said it would draw down its entire $500 million credit facility.  Separately, Moody’s downgraded credit ratings for both Gap (GPS) and fellow retailer Macy’s (M) to junk status.
KB Home (KBH) reported quarterly earnings of 63 cents per share, beating estimates by 18 cents, with the home builder’s revenue also above forecasts. The quarter was driven by a 31% increase in orders and a 28% jump in deliveries. KB Home has also withdrawn its 2020 forecast.
Lululemon (LULU) beat estimates by 4 cents with quarterly earnings of $2.28 per share, with the athletic apparel maker’s revenue slightly above estimates. The company said sales saw a significant downturn during the second week of this month as the outbreak forced U.S. and European stores to close.
Toyota (TM) is seeking a $9.2 billion credit line from its bankers, according to a report by Japan’s Kyodo News. Toyota would not confirm the story, saying only that it continuously evaluates its fundraising needs but did not have anything to announce.
Hertz Global (HTZ) is in talks with banks to raise cash, as it tries to deal with impact of the virus outbreak.  According to a Bloomberg report, the rental car company is considering several options, including collateralizing the company’s vehicle fleet.
Cal-Maine Foods (CALM), the nation’s largest egg producer, closed higher Thursday as egg prices continue to soar as consumers stock up on staples in the wake of the virus outbreak. Wholesale egg prices have tripled since early March.
Dow stock United Technologies (UTX) and Raytheon (RTN) received Justice Department approval to proceed with their planned merger, subject to certain divestiture conditions. The deal was first announced last June and would be the defense sector’s largest-ever merger.
Facebook (FB) said independent director Jeffrey Zients would not seek reelection to the board. Former Deputy Treasury Secretary Robert Kimmitt will take Zients’ place on the social media giant’s board.
While most of us will have to settle for self-isolation in our own home or apartment, the rich are hunkering down in state-of-the-art bunkers and fleeing to private islands to escape the coronavirus. Rising S Company, which makes bunkers and bomb shelters, has seen business increase fourfold when compared to the same period last year. (CNBC)


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