Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow to drop again after Wednesday's rough and tumble session


U.S. stock futures were pointing to another decline for the Dow at Thursday's open, one day after a wild Wall Street session driven by mounting coronavirus concerns. The Dow on Wednesday plunged more than 2,300 points at the lows before finishing down about 1,300 points, or 6.3%,, to 19,898. It was the first close below 20,000 for the Dow since February 2017 and nearly wiped out all the previously robust gains during the Trump presidency.  (CNBC)

Ray Dalio estimates the corporate losses in the US from coronavirus will top $4 trillion (CNBC)
'Hell is coming': Bill Ackman's dire warning for Trump, CEOs to act now (CNBC)

As of Wednesday's close, the Dow was down about 32.7% from last month's record highs. The 10-year Treasury yield dipped early Thursday after soaring Wednesday as investors sold bonds ahead of what's expected to be a flood of new debt supply to pay for coronavirus relief plans. (CNBC)

Jobless claims rose to 281,000 last week, reflecting only the first indications of the impact the coronavirus will have on the U.S. employment picture. Pantheon Macroeconomics' Ian Shepherdson believes that number next Thursday could spike to 2 million as the full force of the halt in the economy slams the labor market. (CNBC)

The New York Stock Exchange, starting Monday, will temporarily close its trading floor and move fully to electronic trading after two people tested positive for the coronavirus at screenings set up this week. The entire stock market has closed at times over the years, most recently during Superstorm Sandy in 2012. (CNBC)

Amazon temporarily closes warehouse in Queens after worker tests positive (CNBC)


The Federal Reserve took another page out of its 2008 financial crisis-era playbook Wednesday night, invoking its emergency authority to create a backstop for prime money market mutual funds. The European Central Bank launched an $820 billion bond-buying program late Wednesday.

BofA says the recession is already here: 'Jobs will be lost, wealth will be destroyed' (CNBC)

President Donald Trump has signed a $100 billion coronavirus aid package into law, including emergency paid leave for workers as well as free testing. The Trump administration is also seeking an $850 billion to $1 trillion stimulus measure, which could include direct payments to Americans and relief to suffering industries.

From Boeing to Tennessee whiskey, coronavirus bailout requests top $1 trillion (Reuters)

U.S. coronavirus cases topped 9,400 with 150 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, a spike in infections of more than 40% in 24 hours. About a third of those overall cases are in New York, the state with the worst outbreak. It has roughly triple the cases of Washington state. However, New York's death toll of 20 is far less than the 68 fatalities in Washington state. (CNBC)

New York governor says state likely has 'tens of thousands' of coronavirus cases (CNBC)
NYC mayor pushes for 'shelter-in-place' order as coronavirus cases surge (CNBC)

For the first time since the coronavirus appeared in the Chinese city of Wuhan in Hubei province in December, China recorded no locally transmitted cases. In recent days, China has increasingly focused its counter-outbreak efforts on inbound travelers. China's 81,000 cases and 3,249 deaths now only account for about 37% of total global infections and deaths. (CNBC)

Here are some of the existing drugs that may be repurposed to treat coronavirus (NBC News)
What the 1918 influenza pandemic can teach governments about coronavirus (CNBC)

Cases around the world surpassed 219,000 with 8,939 deaths and more than 84,000 recoveries. Italy, with the largest number of cases outside China, has recorded about 35,700 infections. But the 2,978 deaths there are approaching the number of fatalities in China. (CNBC)

Italy to extend lockdown as death toll spikes and hospitals struggle (CNBC)


Darden Restaurants (DRI), parent of Olive Garden and other restaurant chains, beat estimates by a penny with quarterly earnings of $1.89 per share, with revenue also above estimates. Darden did withdraw its forward guidance due to the coronavirus outbreak, said it plans to review its dividend policy.

Lennar (LEN) reported quarterly profit of $1.27 per share, well above the consensus estimate of 84 cents per share, with revenue above estimates as well. Going forward, Lennar said it is managing every element of its balance sheet, cash management, and cash flow to maintain its strength as it deals with the coronavirus outbreak.

Accenture (ACN) earned $1.91 per share for its latest quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.72, with revenue above estimates. Unlike many companies, Accenture did issue a full-year forecast that it said reflects current assumptions about the coronavirus impact, but added that the ultimate result depends on many factors that it may not be able to predict.

Marriott (MAR)  has withdrawn its 2020 guidance and is eliminating its dividend due to the coronavirus outbreak.  It will make a final dividend payment on March 31. The hotel chain said occupancy has falling below 25 percent in both North America and Europe.

Williams-Sonoma (WSM) reported adjusted quarterly earnings of $2.13 per share, 8 cents above estimates, with the housewares retailer also seeing revenue beat forecasts as same-store sales jumped 7.6 percent.  As many other companies have done, Williams-Sonoma did not give any forward guidance due to coronavirus-related uncertainty.

Five Below (FIVE) came in 3 cents ahead of estimates with quarterly earnings of $1.97, with the discount retailer's revenue matching Wall Street forecasts.  Five Below also declined to give forward guidance.

Guess (GES) reported adjusted quarterly earnings of $1.22 per share, 10 cents above estimates, with the apparel maker's revenue falling below forecasts. Guess also said it was a "strong position" to handle the impact of the coronavirus on its business.

TripAdvisor (TRIP) has withdrawn its prior 2020 financial outlook. The travel review site had said last month it was seeing a limited impact from the virus outbreak, but is now seeing a more significant impact.


To ease the financial hardship and difficulties many Americans are already facing, Amex is waiving interest and late payment fees for both its personal and business cardholders. Whether you have an Amex EveryDay Credit Card or an American Express Blue Business Cash Card — you may be able to receive some help. (CNBC)