Morning Brief

What to watch today: Wall Street to plunge even after huge weekend Fed moves


U.S. stock futures were "limit down" 5% on Monday morning despite the Federal Reserve announcing a massive monetary stimulus campaign and cutting interest rates to zero Sunday. The Fed's moves, ahead this week's regularly scheduled policy meeting, were aimed at support the economy as the coronavirus crisis deepens in the U.S. and around the world.

The exchange-traded fund that tracks the S&P 500, which has no mechanism to curb downside, was off more than 9%. When the regular session begins at 9:30 a.m. ET on Wall Street, the 7% down level on the S&P 500 would trigger the first of three "circuit breakers," pausing trading for 15 minutes.

Friday's snapback rally of over 9% from Thursday's plunge, which was the worst session since the "Black Monday" market crash in 1987, seems like a distant memory. Monday's expected decline would push the S&P 500 and the Dow Jones Industrial Average further into a bear market, which is defined by a drop of at least 20% from recent 52-week highs. They hit record highs just last month.

JPMorgan, Bank of America, Citigroup and other major banks suspend stock buybacks due to pandemic (CNBC)

The Fed on Sunday cut rates by 1% in an emergency move down to 2008 financial-crisis levels of 0% to 0.25%. Rates during and after the crisis stayed near zero for seven years before the first hike in 2015. In another action from the financial-crisis playbook, the Fed launched a massive $700 billion quantitative easing program.

Treasury yields fall after Fed cuts rates to zero (CNBC)
Mortgage rates likely to fall again after the Fed's latest dramatic response to coronavirus (CNBC)
Goldman Sachs sees zero US economic growth as the coronavirus spreads (CNBC)

On Capitol Hill, the GOP-controlled Senate has yet to schedule a vote on the nation's second emergency coronavirus bill, which passed the Democratic-controlled House last week.


With U.S. coronavirus cases spiking to more than 3,770 with 69 deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging people across America to cancel or postpone events with 50 or more attendees for the next eight weeks. The guidance doesn't apply to schools, universities or businesses. However, many public schools and colleges are closed, shifting learning online. Many companies are on work-from-home polices.

* Alphabet's Verily launches a limited coronavirus screening website (CNBC)
Warren Buffett's daughter reportedly self-quarantines after potential coronavirus exposure (CNBC)

New York City and Los Angeles closed bars and limited restaurants to takeout and delivery. The governors of Ohio and Illinois have also closed restaurants and bars to everything but delivery and takeout.

Fauci: Americans are 'going to have to hunker down significantly more' to fight coronavirus(NBC News)

Across Europe, Italy, France and Spain have taken more severe steps, closing all shops except those that are essential to daily life, such as groceries and pharmacies. Coronavirus cases in Italy surged to over 24,700 cases with 1,809 deaths. Italy is by far the biggest hot-spot outside China, where the outbreak originated in December.

Roughly 5 million people in China lost their jobs in the first 2 months of the year (CNBC)

China still has nearly half the global cases, which increased to nearly 170,000 with 6,513 deaths. More than 77,000 infected patients around the world are listed as recovered.

Apple is closing all of its stores outside of Greater China until March 27 to reduce the risk of the coronavirus spreading. Nike is also temporarily closing all of its stores in the U.S. and in other parts of the world.

Retail store closures in the US could explode because of the coronavirus (CNBC)

Former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders, the last two major candidates vying for the Democratic presidential nomination, began their latest debate under the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic. (CNBC)

The Sunday showdown, ahead of Tuesday's key nominating contests, had moments of unity, with Biden and Sanders going after the president, but also clashed on the typical array of party flash points such as health care. (CNBC)

Biden pledges to pick a woman to be his running mate (CNBC)


Walt Disney (DIS) will make "Frozen 2" available on its streaming platform Disney+ 3 months ahead of schedule, saying it was hoping to provide families "with some fun and joy during this challenging period."

Teladoc Health (TDOC) said it saw a 50 percent surge in virtual doctor visits over the past week, with as many as 15,000 requested visits per day.

Starbucks (SBUX) is pulling back on seating availability, to try to prevent crowds from gathering. It will keep mobile order, pay, and drive through options open for now.


The domestic box office posted its worst weekend in nearly two decades amid calls to practice social distancing to slow the coronavirus pandemic, though the public has yet to abandon going to the movies altogether. (WSJ)