U.S. stock futures were pointing to huge gains Tuesday after President Donald Trump floated a payroll tax cut and other financial relief measures to combat the negative effects of the coronavirus on the U.S. economy and American workers. The Dow Jones Industrial Average's over 800-point indicated rise would recover almost half of the worst sell-off since the 2008 financial crisis. Monday's losses pushed the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq close to bear market territory. All three benchmark stock measures were down 19% from last month's record-high closings. A bear market is defined by an index or asset down at least 20% from recent 52-week highs.
Concerns about the spread of the virus and an oil price war sent investors piling into the perceived safety of bonds, sending prices higher and yields to record lows Monday. The 10-year Treasury yield, which sank to just above 0.3% on Monday morning, was stabilizing around 0.7% early Tuesday. Oil prices, which plummeted 24.5% on Monday after OPEC's proposed production cut deal fell apart, were bouncing more than 8% on Tuesday. However, even with that advance, crude remains firmly in a bear market, down more than 50% from its recent 52-week high as of the close on Monday, which was the worst single-session drop for oil since the 1991 Gulf War.
Trump on Tuesday plans to meet with Senate and House Republicans to discuss "a possible payroll tax cut" and other "substantial relief" as coronavirus cases in the U.S. topped 750 with 26 deaths. Reducing payroll taxes would put more money into consumers' pockets. However, some economists question whether typical stimulus measures would work during the outbreak if concerned citizens stay home and avoid spending money at restaurants or the movies. The president said Monday night he would also look at ways to help hourly employees who could miss paychecks if they're unable to go to work. However, Trump administration officials said the White House was far from ready to roll out specific economic proposals.
Total global coronavirus cases increased to nearly 115,000 with deaths topping 4,000, according to figures compiled by Johns Hopkins University & Medicine. Italy, with over 9,000 cases and 463 deaths, has become the biggest hot-spot outside of China, which still has the most cases and deaths by far. The virus originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei province in December.The Italian government expanded its lockdown, asking all 60 million people nationwide to stay at home. South Korea and Iran have cases in the 7,000s with 54 and 237 deaths, respectively. Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines said Tuesday that it will make deep cuts throughout its network to reduce costs as coronavirus drives down demand for air travel. American Airlines is also cutting international and domestic flights.
It's "Big Tuesday": Six states are holding primaries and caucuses in the race for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. Michigan's 125 delegates are the big prize Tuesday. Former Vice President Joe Biden has led in recent polls there. Sen. Bernie Sanders may need a win in Michigan to keep up with Biden, who leads the pledged delegate count 652 to 575. The other states holding contests Tuesday are Missouri, Mississippi, Idaho, North Dakota and Washington, which has been hit hard by the coronavirus.