Stocks rebound as Trump declares national emergency
Stocks futures reached their upper limit in pre-market trading as investors got set to buy on the dip following yesterday's historic losses. The major averages came off their early morning highs as investors awaited President Donald Trump's latest coronavirus response address at 3 pm. The averages added to their gains and closed with an advance of roughly 9% across the board, erasing almost all of yesterday's losses, after President Trump announced he is declaring a state of emergency due to the coronavirus outbreak. The declaration will make $50B available for use to respond to the outbreak, the president noted. During the address he also reported that interest on all federal student loans will be waived until further notice and that the U.S. will be making oil purchases for its strategic reserves.
ECONOMIC EVENTS: In the U.S., the trade price indexes revealed more resilient import prices than expected, despite big food and energy price drops. A 0.5% decline was reported for import prices, while export prices fell more sharply, declining 1.1% in February. The University of Michigan consumer sentiment index fell 5.1 points to 95.9 in the preliminary March survey, which was a little weaker than forecast but should not be a surprise. In energy news, Baker Hughes reported that the U.S. rig count is down 1 rig from last week to 792.
In Canada, the Bank of Canada lowered its target for the overnight rate by 50 basis points to 0.75%. The Bank Rate is correspondingly 1% and the deposit rate is 0.5%.
TOP NEWS: Oracle (ORCL) shares rose 20.5% after the company's Q3 earnings topped consensus, although its Q4 guidance had a wider than usual range to reflect COVID-19 related uncertainty.
Broadcom (AVGO) delivered in-line results in Q4, but guided Q1 below consensus while withdrawing its prior annual guidance, citing the coronavirus outbreak. Share of the chipmaker fell 7.1% following last night's report.
Shares of Slack Technologies (WORK) were 8.4% lower following the company's quarterly earnings report, with Barclays analyst Raimo Lenschow telling investors that Slack had the misfortune of reporting in the middle of the COVID-19 crisis and at a point where vendors have limited visibility over the next few months.
Shares of Apple (AAPL) gained 12% after Wells Fargo upgraded the stock to Overweight, saying the shares at current levels offer a compelling risk/reward for investors.
Disney (DIS) announced plans to close Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park and is also shuttering its theme parks in Florida and Paris amid the coronavirus outbreak. The company additionally suspended its cruise through the end of the month and has decided to delay the release of the live-action remake of "Mulan."
Meanwhile, AMC Entertainment (AMC) was in focus after the company announced that, starting March 14 and continuing until April 30, it would cut in half the seating capacity of every one of its theatre's auditoriums. It will do so by capping ticket sales for each showtime in each of its theatre's auditoriums to an amount equal to 50% of the normal seating capacity.
MAJOR MOVERS: Among the noteworthy gainers was Opko Health (OPK), which rose 33.8% after its BioReference Laboratories unit said it is now accepting specimens for testing of coronavirus disease 2019 from healthcare providers, clinics and health systems throughout the U.S. Also higher were Adobe (ADBE) and Gap (GPS), which gained a respective 17.7% and 7.3% after reporting quarterly results.
Among the notable losers was Zuora (ZUO), which slid 10.5% after it reported quarterly reuslts and announced that CFO Tyler Sloat would step down. Also lower after reporting quarterly results were JinkoSolar (JKS) and Jabil Circuit (JBL), which fell 2.3% and 5.8%, respectively.
INDEXES: The Dow rose 1,985.00, or 9.36%, to 23,185.62, the Nasdaq gained 673.07, or 9.35%, to 7,874.88, and the S&P 500 advanced 230.38, or 9.29%, to 2,711.02.