Stocks staged an early rally on Friday, adding to the prior day’s gains and following global equities higher as investors weighed a rising coronavirus case count against massive stimulus measures from global policymakers.
As each country tries to mitigate economic damage from the outbreak, each of the three major indices rose — led by tech shares, with the Nasdaq 100 surging enough to hit its upper trading limit during the overnight session. At the highs of the overnight session, the S&P 500 was up 4.6%, and the Dow and Nasdaq were each up about 5% before paring some gains. All three major indices were up at least 2.09% as of 7:35 a.m. ET.
If the gains holding into the regular session, it will be the first time the S&P 500 posts back-to-back sessions of gains in more than a month.
The early morning gains come after stocks staged a modest recovery during the regular trading session Thursday, as investors scooped up technology shares that had fallen precipitously amid the broader market’s recent declines. Energy stocks also outperformed, with U.S. crude oil prices posting their best single-day percentage gain on record just a day after falling to the lowest price in more than 18 years.
While the gains offer a momentary respite after weeks of striking declines, most market participants anticipate further volatility as impending corporate earnings results and economic data begin to incorporate the fuller effects of the coronavirus outbreak. Already a growing number of companies have tossed their full-year outlooks out the window, giving time assess the impact of the ever-evolving health crisis.
As companies cut costs and reduce workers’ hours amid store closures, economists are bracing for a surge in joblessness and slump in consumer spending to take a blow to the previously booming U.S. labor market and services economy. A report Thursday showed new unemployment insurance claims jumped to the highest level in more than two years last week.
The number of coronavirus cases climbed above 245,000 globally on Friday, including more than 14,000 in the U.S. A day earlier, the number of deaths in Italy overtook those in China, the original epicenter of the outbreak, further escalating concerns that the pandemic remains far from being contained globally. The U.S. State Department Thursday afternoon issued an advisory urging U.S. citizens not to travel internationally at all amid the coronavirus outbreak.
10:04 a.m. ET: Trump administration is pushing tax deadline back by three months amid pandemic
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said Friday that the U.S. tax deadline will now by July 15, three months later than the usual deadline of April 15.
10:01 a.m. ET: Federal Reserve announces coordinated action with global central banks to improve liquidity via swap lines
The Federal Reserve on Friday announced it was expanding its dollar liquidity operations with major central banks, including the Bank of England, the Bank of Japan, the European Central Bank, the Federal Reserve, and the Swiss National Bank. The move involves increasing the frequency of its seven-day maturity operations to daily, from weekly, starting Monday.
Here’s what the Federal Reserve said in its statement:
To improve the swap lines’ effectiveness in providing U.S. dollar funding, these central banks have agreed to increase the frequency of 7-day maturity operations from weekly to daily. These daily operations will commence on Monday, March 23, 2020, and will continue at least through the end of April. The central banks also will continue to hold weekly 84-day maturity operations.
The swap lines among these central banks are available standing facilities and serve as an important liquidity backstop to ease strains in global funding markets, thereby helping to mitigate the effects of such strains on the supply of credit to households and businesses, both domestically and abroad.
10:00 a.m. ET: Existing home sales surged to a 13-year high in February ahead of coronavirus outbreak escalation
Sales of previously owned homes surged to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.77 million in February, representing the highest level since February 2007 and a jump of 6.5% over last month, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) said Friday. Consensus economists had expected existing home sales to rise by just 0.9% to 5.51 million, according to Bloomberg data.
January’s existing home sales were slightly downwardly revised to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.42 million, from the 5.46 million previously reported.
Sales in February surged across three of the four major regions, with the Northeast the only one to report a drop in sales. Sales in the South, the largest region, jumped 7.2%.
February’s home sales depicted a strong housing market heading into the coronavirus outbreak, but that strength could deteriorate in forthcoming data as the outbreak starts being taken into account.
“These figures show that housing was on a positive trajectory, but the coronavirus has undoubtedly slowed buyer traffic and it is difficult to predict what short-term effects the pandemic will have on future sales,” Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said in a statement.
9:55 a.m. ET: That didn’t last long…
Less than half an hour into the trading day, benchmarks have given up on the rally, with the S&P now negative but the Dow and Nasdaq clinging to meager gains. Tech shares are leading the way for a second consecutive session. Investors are fighting against the relentless wave of coronavirus bad news, but pinning hopes on a big bang fiscal package that can hopefully contain the fallout.
9:30 a.m. ET: Stocks pop at the opening bell
Wall Street aimed for a second consecutive day of gains, even as the coronavirus pandemic grew worse. Investors are looking for Washington to finalize a massive stimulus package that will help support consumers and bolster businesses across America that have been ravaged by widespread lockdowns.
Here’s where the market began trading:
- S&P 500 (^GSPC): 2,432.04, +22.65 (+0.94%)
- Dow (^DJI): 20,207.71, +120.52 (+0.60%)
- Nasdaq (^IXIC): 7,150.58+160.74(+2.30%)
- Crude (CL=F): $24.57 per barrel, -0.65 (-2.58%)
- Gold (GC=F): $1,496.40 per ounce, +17.10 (+1.16%)
- 10-year Treasury (^TNX): -10.8 bps to yield 1.0110%
9:00 a.m. ET: JPMorgan to give ‘front line’ workers $1000 bonus
JPMorgan Chase (JPM) is joining Facebook (FB) in paying out a special bonus to help offset the turmoil of the coronavirus. A memo seen by Reuters said the largest U.S. bank will give “front line employees” a one-time bonus of $1,000, paid out in two installments in April and May.
7:24 a.m. ET Friday: Stocks rise, Nasdaq futures touch upper trading limit
Contracts on the three major indices turned positive with just over two hours to go until regular trading opens.
Here were the main moves in markets, as of 7:24 a.m. ET:
- S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 2,457.00, +68 points or +2.85%
- Dow futures (YM=F): 20,528.00, +653 points or +3.29%
- Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 7,559.25, +285.75 or +3.93%
- Crude oil prices (CL=F): $26.56 per barrel, +$1.34 or +5.31%
- 10-year Treasury note: yielding 0.997%, down 13.2 basis points
6:02 p.m. ET Thursday: Stock futures fall amid renewed selling
Futures for each of the three major indices dropped during late trading Thursday, reversing gains from the regular session.
Here were the main moves in markets, as of 6:02 p.m. ET:
- S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 2,348.5, -40.5 or -1.7%
- Dow futures (YM=F): 19,500.00, -375 or -1.89%
- Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 7,163.50, -110.5 or -1.51%
- 10-year Treasury note: yielding 1.158%, unchanged