U.S. stock futures, in a volatile overnight and Tuesday morning session, reached their 5% "limit up" levels — but at one stage, plunged briefly negative before recovering. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was looking to open up more than 400 points after Wall Street saw its worst day since the 1987 "Black Monday" market crash. CNBC's Jim Cramer called the swings in futures a "total joke."
Despite the Federal Reserve's emergency coronavirus measures, the Dow plunged nearly 3,000 or 13% on Monday. Ahead of Tuesday's trading, the Dow was off more than 30% from last month's record highs, far exceeding the bear market threshold of down at least 20% from recent highs. In a consumer snapshot from the early days of the outbreak, the government releases February retail sales at 8:30 a.m. ET.
The Trump administration is grappling with which industries to bail out as thousands of businesses in the U.S. grind to a halt under severe measures to curb the spread of the coronavirus. President Donald Trump has indicated he wants to help save the airline, cruise line and hospitality industries. Other measures to confront the economic meltdown may include stimulus options for companies and individuals. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., is planning his own aid proposal of at least $750 billion. Eight major financial institutions, including Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase, are borrowing money from the Fed, according to The New York Times.
The World Health Organization is considering "airborne precautions" for medical staff after a new study showed the coronavirus can survive in the air in some settings. The respiratory disease spreads through human-to-human contact, droplets carried through sneezing and coughing as well as germs left on surfaces. However, officials said there's evidence the virus can go airborne, staying suspended in the air depending on factors such as heat and humidity. Global cases surpassed 183,000 with 7,167 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 80,000 infected patients are listed as recovered. Regeneron has moved forward its time frame for having doses of a potential coronavirus vaccine and treatment ready for human testing. It now expects it by early summer instead of by late summer.
As coronavirus testing ramps up, U.S. cases increased to over 4,600 with 85 deaths. New York is now the state with the most cases at 967, including 10 deaths. Less-populated Washington state is a close second with 904 cases with 48 deaths. The governor of Ohio ordered polls closed due to an "unacceptable health risk." Ohio was one of four states holding primaries Tuesday as Joe Biden hopes to widen his lead over Bernie Sanders for the Democratic presidential nomination. Microsoft has closed all its retail stores in the U.S. and around the world. General Motors and Ford are offering new vehicle financing programs to spur sales as auto showroom traffic slows. Nordstrom announced it is closing its 364 stores for two weeks, but it remains open online.
Amazon, hit by a wave of delivery delays and product shortages, said it's hiring an additional 100,000 warehouse and delivery workers in the U.S. to meet the surge in online shopping demand as Americans stay home in accordance social distancing measures aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus. Amazon encouraged employees in other industries whose jobs were "lost or furloughed" as a result of the coronavirus to apply, including members of the hospitality, restaurant and travel industries. Amazon is also raising pay for warehouse and delivery workers by $2 per hour in the U.S. through the end of April.