Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow futures reverse higher after Fed pledges no limit support for markets


U.S. stock futures turned positive Monday morning after the Federal Reserve pledged asset purchases with no limit to support markets. The Fed said it would launch a barrage of programs aimed at helping markets function more efficiently during the coronavirus crisis. (CNBC)

10-year yield dives below 0.7% after Fed's unlimited asset purchases (CNBC)
Oil reverses losses, jumps 4% after Fed promises aggressive moves (CNBC)

Dow futures hit their 5% "limit down" overnight, and were off 600 points at one stage Monday morning, as a massive coronavirus funding package failed a key Senate procedural vote Sunday. (CNBC)

The Dow tanked another 900 points or 4.5% on Friday, bringing the weekly decline to over 17% for the worst week since the 2008 financial crisis. Ahead of Monday's session, the Dow was off more than 35% from last month's record highs. (CNBC)

The New York Stock Exchange's trading floor will be close, starting Monday, in a move to help thwart the spread of the coronavirus. The NYSE will go to fully electronic trading. (CNBC)


Top-level White House and congressional negotiators continue talks over the now-nearly $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package. Democrats blocked the bill in Sunday's vote, saying it did too much to bail out companies and not enough to help workers. (CNBC)

* Sen. Rand Paul tests positive for coronavirus; Sen. Mitt Romney goes into quarantine as a precaution (CNBC)

The United States has the third most coronavirus cases in the world, with over 35,000 and 471 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. More than half the U.S. cases are in New York, where the death toll increased to 153. Washington state has the second-most cases, with nearly 2,000 confirmed and 95 deaths. New Jersey, California and Illinois round out the top five states.

Broad testing across the US could be months away, Roche CEO says (CNBC)
* New York City and its suburbs account for roughly 5% of global cases (NY Times)

President Donald Trump on Sunday activated the National Guard in New York, Washington state and California in order to combat the spread of the coronavirus. New York plans to run a clinical trial, beginning Tuesday, of a treatment regimen of antimalarial hydroxychloroquine and antibiotic azithromycin, a drug cocktail that has shown promise in fighting the coronavirus. (CNBC)

Chase cardholders could have payments deferred, fees waived, credit lines increased if affected by coronavirus (CNBC)

Global coronavirus cases topped 343,000, with 14,789 deaths and over 98,800 recoveries. China, where the outbreak started in December, still has the most cases at over 81,400. China's 3,274 deaths are second to Italy's 5,476 deaths. Italy is second in total cases at over 59,100. The U.S., Spain and Germany round out the top five countries.

JetBlue cuts schedule to essential flights as coronavirus spread (CNBC)

German Chancellor Angela Merkel went into quarantine over the weekend after contact with a doctor who tested positive for the virus. The German government is set to unveil major stimulus measures. (CNBC)

Cisco Systems is committing $225 million to assist in efforts aimed at combating the coronavirus while the rest of Silicon Valley also initiates an investment blitz. BlackRock is committing $50 million in outbreak relief. 3M said it will supply New York and Seattle with a half-million N95 respirator masks to address the ongoing shortage of health-care equipment. Merck said it will supply New York City with a half-million masks. (CNBC)

CVS to hire 50,000 workers, gives bonuses to employees (USA Today)

Chinese billionaire and Alibaba founder Jack Ma sent to Africa 5.4 million face masks, over 1 million testing kits, 40,000 sets of protective clothing and 60,000 protective face shields. (CNBC)

US tech CEOs from Tim Cook to Elon Musk pledge to help coronavirus fight with masks and ventilators (CNBC)

PG&E has reportedly agreed to plead guilty to felony involuntary manslaughter charges for its role in starting the deadliest wildfire in state history. The company disclosed criminal charges related to its role in sparking 2018 Camp Fire that destroyed the town of Paradise, California. (WSJ)

SoftBank reportedly plans to sell up to $41 billion of its assets to buy back shares and redeem debt, in an unprecedented move to combat the tumbling price of its stocks and bonds.

Occidental Petroleum (OXY) is near a settlement with activist investor Carl Icahn, according to the Wall Street Journal.  Under the proposed deal, two Icahn allies would receive seats on the Occidental board, and a third independent director would be mutually agreed upon by Icahn and Occidental.


Boeing (BA) was upgraded to buy from neutral at Goldman Sachs, which said Boeing will remain a going concern and that flight travel will be as popular as ever once COVID-19 is resolved.

Coca-Cola (KO) was upgraded to overweight from neutral at JPMorgan Chase, which points to rebound prospects post-coronavirus and the idea that consensus estimates for revenue and profit are conservative.

Amazon (AMZN) is raising overtime pay for warehouse workers amid a surge in online shopping. Amazon's move follows a similar action from rival Walmart (WMT), which raised the minimum wage for e-commerce warehouse workers.

Danaher's (DHR) Cepheid unit received FDA approval for its rapid coronavirus diagnostic test, the first of its kind. The test can deliver results in about 45 minutes, compared to lab results which can take days.

Apple (AAPL) dropped a two-device limit on online iPhone purchases, just days after instituting that limit. Apple brick-and-mortar stores outside China remain closed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Gilead Sciences (GILD) put emergency access to its experimental coronavirus drug remdesivir on hold due to overwhelming demand.

Starbucks (SBUX) is closing most of its company cafes across North America for two weeks, limiting service to drivethrough.

Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) is closing its flagship-branded stores until April 3, to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Marriott (MAR), Hilton Worldwide (HLT) and other hotel companies are placing tens of thousands of workers on furlough, as travel dries up in the midst of the coronavirus outbreak.


Pressure mounts to cancel the Tokyo summer Olympics, set to begin at the end of July. Canada and Australia said they won't send teams to compete. Local media reports indicate that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is considering a delay. (CNBC)