- Dow Jones futures were off by as much as 252 points Wednesday night.
- The Dow Jones index rallied in New York trading, capping off its first two-day winning streak since February.
- Despite some Republican opposition, the Senate voted to pass the Trump administration’s $2 trillion stimulus package late Wednesday.
Futures on the Dow and broader U.S. stock market tumbled in overnight trading Wednesday, as investors continued to dissect the Trump administration’s $2 trillion stimulus response to coronavirus.
Dow, U.S. Stock Futures Slide
Futures on all three major U.S. indexes declined in overnight trading, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average mini contract falling by as much as 252 points, or 1%. It would eventually reverse most of those losses and was last seen trading 0.4% lower.
S&P 500 futures were down 0.2%. Nasdaq futures also tumbled 0.2%.
The Dow and S&P 500 finished sharply higher in New York trading, marking their first back-to-back gains since February. Over those two days, the Dow climbed more than 2,600 points.
Senate Passes Stimulus Bill
The Senate has finally approved a proposed $2 trillion stimulus package designed to ease the economic burden brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic. The landmark legislation was passed just minutes before midnight.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer says the bill will move to the House on Friday.
The legislation aims to provide direct financial support to Americans whose employment has been directly impacted by coronavirus. It will also unlock hundreds of billions in loans to small and large enterprises.
As The Wall Street Journal reports, lawmakers were expected to vote on the bill Wednesday night but,
the procedure was delayed when rank-and-file members voiced objections…
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders was among those who rejected the bill and even threatened to block its passage if major revisions weren’t made.
Some Republicans criticized the proposed legislation and at least four objected to it because it disincentivizes going back to work.
Despite these criticisms, a former member of the Trump administration believes $2 trillion might not be enough to avert economic catastrophe.
Gary Cohn, who once served as President Trump’s top aide, told CNBC on Wednesday that “you cannot overreact in this situation.”
Basically, Cohn believes Congress must “throw as much money as you can at the situation.”
Of course, Cohn didn’t address the long-term impact of running massive deficits and the need to perpetually borrow money to fund lucrative programs.
The Federal Reserve is also fueling American debt by keeping interest rates artificially lower. Several pockets of the U.S. economy and financial system are highly leveraged, raising the specter of a painful recession if and when those bubbles pop.
Corporate debt is one such bubble, and is now valued at more than 46% of gross domestic product. The last time corporate debt-to-GDP was this high was in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis.
This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.
Last modified: March 26, 2020 4:03 AM UTC
Oil prices climb before OPEC+ talks, Asian shares falter – Aljazeera.com
Oil prices climbed on Thursday, hours before the world’s largest oil producers are scheduled to meet to discuss output cuts as the coronavirus pandemic ravages demand.
Brent crude futures rose 2.5 percent or 81 cents to $33.65 as of 00:34 GMT after touching a high of $33.90, adding to gains in the previous session.
United States crude futures were up 4.3 percent, or $1.08, at $26.17, having climbed as much as 6 percent the day before.
The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and allies including Russia, a group known as OPEC+, are set to convene a video conference meeting on Thursday.
The meeting is expected to be more successful than their gathering in March, where they failed to agree to extend supply cuts and triggered a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Hopes of an agreement to cut between 10 million and 15 million barrels per day (bpd) rose after media reports suggested Russia was ready to reduce its output by 1.6 million bpd and Algeria’s energy minister said he expected a “fruitful” meeting.
“I think there’ll be a deal, which will bring a bit of cheer in the short run. Then everyone’s attention will refocus on the fundamentals. The fundamentals are appalling,” Lachlan Shaw, head of commodity research at National Australia Bank told Reuters news agency.
Global demand for oil has shrunk significantly as the coronavirus outbreak triggered travel restrictions and temporary business closures. In India, the world’s third-biggest consumer, oil demand has collapsed as much as 70 percent, according to officials at the country’s refiners.
In contrast to oil prices, Asian shares were mixed on Thursday after a three-day rally, with investors mulling the spread of the coronavirus and when economies will be able to ramp up again.
Shares in Tokyo dipped with the Nikkei declining 0.23 percent in early trade, but were higher in Sydney and Seoul. Australia’s S&P/ASX 200 was up 1.51 percent and South Korea’s Kospi gained 1.3 percent.
In China, blue chips declined 0.47 percent while the broader Shanghai Composite Index fell 0.19 percent. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index was also in the red, down 1.17 percent.
US S&P 500 Index futures edged up after the gauge jumped 3.4 percent on Wednesday as Joe Biden emerged as the Democratic frontrunner in the US presidential race, bringing its rise from the March low to more than 20 percent.
But investors are still looking at numbers of new coronavirus cases and deaths for clues on where the global economy is headed.
“It’s all a question of when the economy reopens and how quickly that happens,” Nancy Davis, a chief investment officer with Quadratic Capital Management LLC told Bloomberg. “We aren’t out of the woods.”
While the White House’s top health advisers are developing medical criteria for safely reopening the US economy in coming weeks should these trends hold steady, the coronavirus killed a record number of victims in the United Kingdom and Belgium, as well as in the hard-hit states of New York and New Jersey. The number of new cases in Italy and Spain crept up after several days of declines.
WestJet to rehire nearly 6,400 workers with help of federal wage subsidy – CBC.ca
WestJet says 6,400 workers will be brought back onto its payroll once the federal government has approved an emergency wage subsidy program.
In a statement Wednesday night, WestJet CEO Ed Sims cautioned that there might not be enough work for the rehired employees, but noted “it does help them make ends meet.
“We will be communicating with those WestJetters who are affected by this decision as soon as we can,” said Sims.
Last month, WestJet announced it was cutting roughly half of its 14,000 employees with the elimination of 6,900 positions.
Canada’s airline industry has seen a dramatic reduction in demand due to lockdowns to control the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19.
The Calgary-based airline’s move to rehire its employees follows a similar move by Air Canada, which announced Wednesday that it would rehire 16,500 laid-off workers with assistance from the same federal wage subsidy program.
The federal government’s emergency wage subsidy — originally targeted only at small- and medium-sized businesses — was expanded earlier in April to cover a 75-per-cent wage subsidy for Canadian companies that had lost 30 per cent of revenue due to the pandemic.
WestJet said it can’t guarantee that all employees will be coming back to work in the short-term, but the new subsidy will help out.
After announcing layoffs in late March, WestJet executives took a 50-per-cent pay cut and vice-presidents and directors took a 25-per-cent cut.
The airline also said it would reduce the number of flights offered in Canada by about half due to a reduced demand for travel.
Oil Prices Surge with Production Cut Anticipation By – Investing.com
By Gina Lee
Investing.com – Oil prices built on the momentum from the previous session as the price war between Russia and Saudi Arabia seems to be nearing a truce.
Russia said overnight that it was willing to reduce output by around 1.6 barrels daily, or 15%. The announcement saw WTI futures surging to almost 12% as the session closed.
International rose 2.62% to $33.7 by 10:19 PM ET (3:19 AM GMT) and U.S. jumped 3.71% to $26.02.
As the oil industry continues to grapple with a supply glut, with the COVID-19 pandemic shrinking demand, Russia’s declaration comes at an opportune time. The Energy Information Administration (EIA) said overnight that the U.S. crude oil inventory increased by 15.2 million barrels for the week ending April 3, against analyst expectations of a 9.37-million-barrel build.
The American Petroleum Institute (API) also estimated a build of 11.9 million barrels yesterday.
Investors are waiting to see if Russia will hold to its word at OPEC+’s virtual meeting later in the day.
“The coming extraordinary producing-countries meeting is the only hope in the horizon for the market that could prevent a total price collapse and production shut-ins,” Rystad Energy’s head of oil markets Bjornar Tonhaugen told CNBC.
“At the moment, prices are so volatile that any news or leaks about the direction of the negotiations could move them [prices] either way. As you have seen in recent days, price swings from gains to losses and back are not unusual in such times,” he added.
But some investors took a more skeptical view.
“OPEC+ is trying mightily to cobble together a sizable production cut, and they are in full spin mode to try and rally prices,” Again Capital’s John Kilduff told CNBC.
“[OPEC’s meeting] will be a make-or-break moment for the oil market. The math on a 10 million barrel per day cutback, which is the minimum necessary to stabilize the situation, is almost impossible to compute. I expect a bad day for OPEC+ tomorrow,” he added.
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