1. Stock futures volatile after Dow’s best day in 87 years
Dow futures saw wild swings Wednesday between strong gains and modest losses. Investors overnight had been encouraged by the White House and Senate reaching a deal on a $2 trillion coronavirus stimulus package. On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average logged its best session since 1933, soaring over 2,112 points or nearly 11.4% in anticipation of the relief bill. Despite Tuesday’s gains, the Dow remained about 30% below last month’s record highs.
Boeing shares jumped over 11% in the premarket after Reuters reported that plane-maker plans to restart production on its grounded 737 Max fleet by May. The Senate bill, the final details of which have not been released, has money set aside to “stabilize key national industries,” according to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
2. Senate and White House reach $2 trillion stimulus deal
McConnell, just after 1:30 a.m. ET, announced the stimulus bill agreement, and said senators will vote and pass it later Wednesday. The Kentucky Republican promised the bill would help struggling industries and rush financial assistance to Americans through direct checks to households, enhanced unemployment insurance, hundreds of billions of loans in emergency loans to small businesses, and more resources for hospitals and medical equipment. Anything passed by the GOP-controlled Senate must be reconciled with the Democratic-controlled House, which drafted its own plan.
3. Trump wants to open the economy back up by Easter
President Donald Trump speaks at the White House, Tuesday, March 24, 2020, in Washington.
Evan Vucci | AP
Despite medical community warnings about the continuing threat of the coronavirus, President Donald Trump said Tuesday he wants to open the economy back up by Easter Sunday, which is less than three weeks away on April 12. Trump said he offered the holiday as a deadline because Easter is “very special” to him. The president added, “I’m not sure that’s going to be the day … [but] that would be a beautiful thing.” He stressed that any the decision to reopen the economy will be “based on hard facts and data” and will be “grounded solely in the health, safety and well-being of our citizens.”
4. US cases continue to soar as more testing done
Doctors test hospital staff with flu-like symptoms for coronavirus (COVID-19) in set-up tents to triage possible COVID-19 patients outside before they enter the main Emergency department area at St. Barnabas hospital in the Bronx on March 24, 2020 in New York City.
Misha Friedman | Getty Images
U.S. coronavirus cases have soared in recent days, as testing kits have become more available. According to Johns Hopkins University, America has more than 55,200 cases, the third most of any country in the world, with 802 deaths. Italy’s more than 69,100 cases are second only China’s over 81,600 cases. However, Italy’s death toll of 6,820 is more than double that of China, where the outbreak started in December. Global cases increased to about 428,400 with 19,119 deaths and over 109,400 recoveries. Spain, Germany and France are also emerging as hot-spots in Europe. In Britain, Prince Charles’ household announced that the heir to the throne has tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus.
5. Target delays remodels, withdraws financial forecasts
Clorox Liquid Bleach products in short supply at a Target store in Hackensack, N.J.
Fahiemah Al-Ali | CNBC
Target, one of the retailers that’s seen a surge in shoppers, said Wednesday it’s scaling back plans to remodel hundreds of stores, postponing openings of new stores and delaying the addition of fresh groceries and beer to curbside pickup. Target CEO Brian Cornell said the retailer will focus on a singular mission: providing food, medicine and other essential items during the pandemic. Target is also withdrawing its guidance for the first quarter and fiscal year because of the unpredictable business climate. People have been flocking to Target, Walmart, Costco and Amazon, stocking up in case of prolonged supply chain disruptions.