LIVE market coverage: Thursday, March 26 Yahoo Finance
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Stock futures dipped Thursday morning, after a massive, eagerly awaited coronavirus relief package cleared the U.S. Senate and headed for the House, with investors poised to take a breather after two consecutive days of gains.
During the regular session Wednesday, the S&P 500 and Dow posted their first back-to-back sessions of advances in more than a month. At the highs of the session, the Dow had added 1,315 points.
Yet by market close Wednesday, stocks pared some gains, after the bill with $2 trillion worth of relief for the coronavirus-stricken economy exposed intra-party divisions. Late in the afternoon, Democratic presidential contender and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders suggested he would be willing to hold up the bill amid a dispute with Republican lawmakers who called for changes over unemployment benefits provided in the package.
And others outside of Capitol Hill aired their grievances over the legislation. New York state governor Andrew Cuomo called the legislation “terrible” for his state, and suggested the aid allocated would not make up for the budget gap created by the coronavirus outbreak.
Meanwhile, the coronavirus outbreak continued to escalate domestically and abroad, with the global case count topping 480,000 as of Thursday morning, according to Johns Hopkins data. More than 69,000 of these were in the U.S., with New York state comprising the bulk of domestic cases.
Heading into Thursday’s session, investors will be anxiously awaiting the Labor Department’s weekly report on unemployment claims, which are expected to reflect soaring joblessness as businesses are forced to lay off employees as the coronavirus outbreak continues.
“We now expect the unemployment rate to peak near 8.5%,” JPMorgan Chase economists wrote late Wednesday. Once again, the bank lowered its U.S. economic forecasts for both the first and second quarters, to an annualized rate of -10% and -25%, respectively.
“Whereas normally a downward revision to 1H would be expected to result in an upward revision to 2H, we are leaving our second-half forecast unrevised at 6%, incorporating financial headwinds that should dampen the pace of recovery,” they added.
Though individual firms’ estimates span a wide range, consensus economists polled by Bloomberg project new unemployment claims rose to a seasonally adjusted 1.64 million for the week ending March 21, skyrocketing from the 281,000 during the prior week.
Ahead of the report, states have already signaled steepening rates of unemployment. California Governor Gavin Newsom said Wednesday that one million Californians had filed for unemployment benefits in the country’s most populous state since March 13.
7:20 a.m. ET Thursday: Powell says Fed is ‘not going to run out of ammunition’
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, speaking in a rare televised interview on NBC’s Today show Thursday morning, vowed the central bank would continue using the tools at its disposal to help combat economic turmoil stirred up by the coronavirus outbreak.
When it comes to maintaining credit flows, Powell said the Fed still had room to apply further support to financial markets.
“We’re not going to run out of ammunition,” he said in the interview.
Powell also said he expected economic activity will “resume and move back up in the second half of the year,” noting that the virus will “dictate the timetable” for a rebound.
7:10 a.m. ET Thursday: Stock futures hold slightly lower after two straight days of gains
Contracts on the three major indices remained lower during the pre-market session Thursday morning, a day after the S&P 500 and Dow had posted their first back-to-back sessions of gains in a month.
Here’s where indexes traded Thursday morning, as of 7:10 a.m. ET:
S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 2,449.5, -17.5 (-0.71%)
Dow futures (YM=F): 20,971.00, -55 (-0.26%)
Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 7,425.25, -42.5 (-0.57%)
Gold (GC=F): +$0.20 (+0.01%) to $1,633.60 per ounce
10-year Treasury (^TNX) note: yielding 0.811%, or down 4.5 basis points
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