U.S. stock futures were pointing to nearly a 400-point loss for the Dow Jones Industrial Average at Thursday's open on Wall Street as coronavirus concerns intensify. That would be in down 10% from record highs correction territory. The 10-year Treasury yield hit a record low under 1.29%. As of Wednesday's close, the Dow dropped more than 8%, or nearly 2,400 points, in five straight down sessions, with the worst coming in back-to-back 3% drops Monday and Tuesday. Goldman Sachs on Thursday revised its earnings estimate for the year for U.S. companies to $165 per share, representing 0% growth in 2020. This is a dramatic break from the consensus forecast of Wall Street, which still calls for earnings to climb 7% this year.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is trying to figure out how someone in California contracted the new coronavirus. "It's possible this could be an instance of community spread of COVID-19, which would be the first time this has happened in the United States," the CDC said Wednesday. The bulk of the 60 cases in America are people who were evacuated from Wuhan, China, or the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined off the coast of Japan.
South Korea, with total coronavirus cases of 1,766, saw 505 new cases overnight, which outpaced the 433 new cases reported in China. More than 81,000 people worldwide are infected with over 2,700 deaths. The bulk of cases and fatalities are still in China, where the outbreak originated. Japan is closing schools next month, according to Reuters, as cases there approach 200. Italy's 400 cases and 12 deaths are the worst pocket of coronavirus in Europe. Gilead Sciences, which has seen its stock soar in recent sessions, said it would begin its own studies for a potential treatment for the coronavirus next month.
Vice President Mike Pence has been put in charge of the U.S. response to the coronavirus. President Donald Trump made that announcement at a White House news conference Wednesday night as another major American company, Microsoft, warned about coronavirus impact, saying it did not expect to meet prior guidance for its PC segment, due to supply chain disruptions. Trump, who CNBC sources said was livid about this week's outbreak-driven market plunge, blamed some of the recent selling on fears a Democrat could win the presidential election.
One day after Saturday's South Carolina Democratic presidential primary, current delegate leader Sen. Bernie Sanders plans to seek support from both Silicon Valley workers and those hurt by the tech-inflated housing crunch in California. Sanders holds a rally in San Jose on Sunday. The Golden State's primary is one of the 16 nominating contests held two days later on Super Tuesday, when a third of the party's delegates are up for grabs. Former Vice President Joe Biden is looking to Saturday's South Carolina primary and contests on Super Tuesday to revive his struggling campaign.
Correction: An earlier version overstated the Dow's expected drop at Thursday's open.