Charging Bull Statue is seen at the Financial District in New York City, United States on March 29, 2020.
Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
Stocks futures were higher in early Monday morning trade, as oil prices fell, while investors assessed the possibility of re-opening the global economy after the coronavirus outbreak.
Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up 177 points, implying a Monday opening gain of around 168 points. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures also pointed to a higher Monday open for the two indexes. West Texas Intermediate futures were down more than 10% at $15.18 per barrel.
Wall Street’s coming off its first weekly decline in three as a record plunge in oil prices sent investors for a wild ride. Both the Dow and S&P 500 fell over 1% last week while the Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.2%.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Sunday the state plans to re-open its economy in phases. The first phase, Cuomo said, would involve New York’s construction and manufacturing sectors. As part of the second phase, businesses will need to design plans for a re-opening that include social distancing practices and having personal protective equipment available.
Cuomo also noted that coronavirus-related hospitalizations have fallen for 14 days and that virus deaths in New York hit a near one-month low. Those comments came as Georgia started to re-open its economy.
“As various states begin to reopen their economies and relax social distancing rules, we will get a glimpse of what the new normal looks like,” said Marc Chaikin, CEO of Chaikin Analytics. “The biggest risk to the stock market is a premature reopening of the U.S. economy which results in an increase in COVID-19 cases and requires an abrupt reversal of these efforts to awaken the economy out of its engineered coma.”
Shelter-in-place orders and social distancing guidelines forced thousands of businesses to shut down starting in March as the federal and state governments tried to contain the coronavirus outbreak. Nearly 3 million cases have been confirmed worldwide with over 900,000 in the U.S., according to data from Johns Hopkins.
The outbreak, and subsequent business closures, sparked a wave of job losses. Data from the Labor Department shows that more than 26 million people have filed for unemployment benefits over the past five weeks.
To be sure, a decline in new virus infections and unprecedented monetary and fiscal stimulus have sparked a massive stock-market rally from the lows reached on March 23. Since then, the major averages are all up more than 20%, with the S&P 500 retracing about half of its decline from a record set Feb. 19.
Investors have also cheered the prospects of Gilead Sciences’ remdesivir as a potential treatment for the coronavirus. On April 16, STAT News reported patients at a Chicago hospital with severe coronavirus symptoms were quickly recovering after being treated with the drug in a trial.
A Financial Times report on Wednesday quelled some of that excitement, however, as it stated remdesivir did not improve patients’ condition during a trial in China. Gilead pushed back on the report and the study it cited, noting the trial was “was terminated early due to low enrollment,” making it “underpowered to enable statistically meaningful conclusions.”
“This drug has become the single most important macro topic/theme/trend in the entire market,” Adam Crisafulli, founder of Vital Knowledge, said in a note. “Investors are dismissing the “flop” headline from the FT and continue to anticipate positive results of some kind out of (at least) one of the many Remdesivir trials now underway (while FDA approval is widely assumed).”
“The present setup is such that Remdesivir anticipation will very likely be more beneficial/powerful than the actual results themselves (the data most likely will show efficacy to some extent in certain instances, but a medical “silver bullet” isn’t about to emerge),” Crisafulli added.
—CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.
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Quebec looks to revive economy weakened by coronavirus crisis by fast tracking infrastructure projects – Global News
Quebec is looking to ramp up 202 infrastructure projects across the province in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic’s toll on the economy.
Bill 61, known as an “Act to restart Quebec’s economy and to mitigate the consequences of the public health emergency” due to the COVID-19 crisis, was unveiled by the government on Wednesday.
As part of the plan, the government wants to accelerate the construction of schools, seniors’ homes, roads and public transit systems. If passed, the bill will allow some projects to be fast tracked without all the regular procedures in place.
Treasury Board President Christian Dubé said the province wants to help people and sectors recover during the health crisis as lockdown measures implemented in March are slowly eased. He insisted that rigor will still be used when it comes to doling out contracts.
“We will not go against laws or regulations,” he said, adding the bill will permit for certain authorizations to be given more quickly.
The proposed legislation will revive the economy and allow for a less bureaucratic process, according to Dubé.
“We know we were all weathering an unusual storm,” he said.
Under the plan, about 90 infrastructure projects would be ramped up in the health sector, including construction on 48 seniors’ homes. This also includes renovation plans for hospitals in Montreal, such as the renovation and expansion of Lachine Hospital.
In the education sector, about 39 projects would be fast tracked. This includes the construction of new elementary and high schools as well as the expansion of other academic institutions such as Dawson College in Montreal.
When it comes to roads and public transit, the Legault government is looking at accelerating about 50 projects. This includes the long-awaited extension to the Montreal Metro’s blue line.
Finance Minister Eric Girard described the situation as “exceptional” when outlining the details of the bill alongside Dubé.
Girard also announced that he will provide an update on the province’s finances on June 19, but warned that the pandemic has had a grip on the economy.
“This year is going to be a negative year,” he said. “The worst year for the economy since World War Two.”
The announcement comes as Quebec saw 291 new cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, on Wednesday. It leads the country with 51,884 infections.
The death toll stands at 4,794 after 81 more fatalities were reported from the previous day.
As of Wednesday, the number of hospitalizations decreased by 34 for a total of 1,141. There are 158 people in intensive care.
— With files from the Canadian Press
© 2020 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
Mayor Watson asks province to consider local reopening of economy – Ottawa Citizen
Mayor Jim Watson has asked Premier Doug Ford to consider reopening the City of Ottawa’s economy as part of a regional approach to relaxing COVID-19 restrictions.
“Mayor Watson spoke to Premier Ford last night and expressed his support for a more regional approach given our city is doing better than many other parts of the province,” Watson’s press secretary Patrick Champagne said Wednesday morning.
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“As you know, we also have the added challenge of being a border city, creating an unlevel playing field, as businesses like hair salons and barber shops have reopened in Gatineau but not in Ottawa. Premier Ford fully understood our dilemma and committed to keeping the Mayor’s perspective in mind as they consider a regional approach to reopening the Ontario economy.”
Ford last week expressed interest in a regional approach to reopening Ontario’s economy based on COVID-19 testing and results, rather than tweak provincial emergency orders and have the rules apply to the entire province.
US services index shows biggest part of economy is stirring – BNNBloomberg.ca
U.S. service providers started to emerge in May from a pandemic-induced tailspin as nationwide lockdowns on business and social interaction began to lift.
The Institute for Supply Management said Wednesday that its non-manufacturing index rose 3.6 points to 45.4.
While the monthly increase was the largest in more than two years, the gauge remained below the 50 mark that shows most service-related industries continued to contract.
The purchasing managers group’s gauge of business activity, which parallels the ISM’s factory production index, jumped 15 points, the most in records dating back to 1997, to a still-tepid 41. Along with an improvement in new orders, the figures are a welcome sign that the economy is stabilizing and will gradually recover from a deep recession.
The median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of economists called for an improvement to 44.4 in the overall non-manufacturing index.
The report, however, also showed the labor market remains severely disrupted by the pandemic. The ISM measure of employment at services, which represent almost 90 per cent of the economy, only rose 1.8 points from the worst reading on record in April.
A Labor Department report on Friday is projected to show another 8 million decline in May payrolls after an unprecedented 20.5 million slump in April. The unemployment rate is forecast to soar to nearly 20 per cent.
A pickup in demand as states lift lockdowns and businesses begin to reopen is needed to help stabilize the job market. The ISM’s report showed an index orders at service providers climbed 9 points to a still-weak 41.9.
Meanwhile, the index of supplier deliveries in non-manufacturing industries fell for the first time in four months, indicating an easing in supply-chain bottlenecks and transportation delays.
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