1. Dow points to a lower open after first back-to-back gains since February
A man walks by the Wall Street subway sign on March 23, 2020 in New York City.
Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images
U.S. stock futures gave up overnight gains and pointed to a 100-point loss for the Dow Jones Industrial Average at Thursday’s open. The Senate late Wednesday unanimously approved a historic $2 trillion coronavirus economic relief package, but 1 million to 4 million Americans are expected to have filed for unemployment benefits last week. The weekly jobless claims report is issued at 8:30 a.m. ET. The Dow on Wednesday gained over 2%, with Boeing‘s 24% pop and Nike‘s 9% gain adding strength. Tuesday’s 11% advance for the Dow was the best session since 1933. The two-day advance was the Dow’s first back-to-back gains this month. However, heading into Thursday, the Dow was still more than 28% below its February record high. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell pledged Thursday, in an interview on NBC’s “Today” show, that the central bank will keep using the tools it has to fight the economic slowdown. “We’re not going to run out of ammunition,” he said.
2. Unprecedented number of initial jobless claims expected
The unprecedented number of initial jobless claims that’s expected for last week is due out one hour before the stock market opens on Wall Street. Claims of over 1 million would be exponentially higher than the prior week’s big rise to 281,000 as the first wave of the coronavirus’s economic halt started to show up in the jobs data. February’s 50-year low unemployment rate of 3.5% before the stay-at-home advisories started to go into effect in many states across the country could spike to 10% or higher when the March employment report comes out at the end of next week.
3. Senate coronavirus relief bill moves to the House
The Democratic-controlled House is scheduled to take up the Senate coronavirus relief bill Friday morning. In a letter Wednesday night to colleagues, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said, “Members who want to come to the House Floor to debate this bill will be able to do so. In addition, we are working to ensure that those who are unable to return to Washington may express their views on this legislation remotely.” The GOP-controlled Senate unanimously passed the bill, 96-0, a product of days of negotiations with Democrats and the White House. The package includes direct payments to individuals, grants and loans to businesses and more health-care funding.
4. US cases surge ahead of Trump’s G-20 meeting
People line up outside Elmhurst Hospital to get tested due to coronavirus outbreak on March 24, 2020 in Queens, New York City.
Eduardo Munoz Alvarez | Getty Images
U.S. coronavirus cases increased to over 69,100 with deaths surpassing 1,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. New York’s 33,000 cases are the most of any state by far. New York has seen 366 deaths, nearly triple Washington state’s 133 fatalities. With cases mounting, President Donald Trump has said he wants to get the U.S. economy back up and running in a little over two weeks by Easter Sunday on April 12. On Thursday, the president faces a critical test to assert America’s leadership in the global fight against the coronavirus at the emergency Group of 20 meeting being held remotely. The U.S. and China have been trading insults, with Trump calling the outbreak the “Chinese virus” and China suggesting the U.S. military brought the virus there.
5. Coronavirus death tolls in Italy and Spain spike higher
Red Cross staff wearing a protective containment suit return to the Red Cross headquarters after transporting a Covid 19 patient to a hospital in Turin on March 25, 2020 in Turin, Italy.
Stefano Guidi | Getty Images
Italy, which has had the most fatalities of any country, has seen its death toll top 7,500, more than double China’s 3,291 fatalities. Italy’s total cases of more than 74,300 are approaching the world’s infection leader China, which has 81,700 cases. The U.S. has the third most cases. Spain, with over 49,500 case, saw its death toll of 3,647 exceed that of China as well. Many European countries are closely following Italy’s coronavirus data to forecast what trajectory their own national outbreaks could take. Global coronavirus cases rose to over 480,000 with 21,570 deaths and more than 115,000 recoveries.