U.S. stock futures were pointing to an over 200-point gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average at Wednesday's open. The Dow closed 26 points lower Tuesday, giving up a more than 900-point surge earlier in the session. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also closed modestly lower. The Nasdaq avoided going back into a bear market. But the Dow and S&P 500 remained in bear market territory, defined by declines of at least 20% from 52-week highs. All three stock measures hit record highs in February before the worst of the coronavirus crisis took hold in the United States. Coming up Wednesday, the Federal Reserve releases the minutes from its most recent meeting at 2 p.m. ET. The meeting in question was the emergency weekend session at which the Fed cut rates to a range of zero to 0.25%.
U.S. coronavirus cases surpassed 400,000 on Wednesday, according to figures provided by NBC News, with 12,864 fatalities nationwide. NBC's count is slightly higher than that of Johns Hopkins University, which counted 399,929 cases as of Wednesday morning. The world's largest economy has recorded the most COVID-19 infections of any country by far. Cases in America are almost five times those in China, where the virus was first identified in December. New York state's over 140,300 cases and 5,489 deaths are the most in the U.S. Half those cases are in New York City, which has more than 70% of the fatalities in the state.
Global coronavirus cases topped 1.4 million with 83,148 deaths and over 281,300 recoveries, according to Johns Hopkins University data. After the U.S., the worst of the outbreak is ravaging Europe. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson, suffering from COVID-19, spent a second night in the intensive care unit at St. Thomas' Hospital in London. Johnson's condition is stable, according to officials. In the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, authorities started allowing people to leave there for the first time since late January's lockdown.
President Donald Trump is blaming the World Health Organization, claiming it has gotten "every aspect" of the outbreak wrong. At Tuesday's White House coronavirus briefing, he threatened to withhold funding from the WHO, the United Nations' health agency. The WHO declared a global health emergency on Jan. 30, nearly a month before Trump tweeted that "The Coronavirus is very much under control in the USA." In hopes of further helping U.S. small businesses, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin asked congressional leaders for an additional $250 billion for the small business loan program. Congress late last month approved a $350 billion small business loan program as part of an over $2 trillion stimulus.
Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter and Square, said he's going to set aside $1 billion in his Square equity to support relief efforts for COVID-19, and other causes, once the pandemic is over. Dorsey said he's pulling the shares from his stake in mobile payments company Square instead of Twitter because he owns more stock in Square. He said he'll cash in the shares over time. Amazon's Jeff Bezos, Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates are also among the other tech leaders pledging coronavirus-related donations.
— Reuters contributed to this report.