Wall Street swings up and down as volatility retains grip

Featured Stocks Ranging Higher After Erasing All Gains Under Trump Wednesday By Ian Young

Featured Stocks Ranging Higher After Erasing All Gains Under Trump Wednesday By Ian Young

The S&P 500 index was down 67.63 points at 2,330.47, while the Nasdaq composite was down 108.12 points at 6,881.72. The French CAC 40, which was up for most of the day, was also trading less than a half percent lower.

In one of the most dire forecasts yet issued for the potential hit from the epidemic, a JP Morgan economist said the USA economy could shrink 4 per cent this quarter and 14 per cent next quarter, and for the year it is likely to shrink 1.5 per cent.

Thursday morning data from the S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures also remained under pressure and failed to stir any optimism for Wall Street on Thursday.

Stocks posted modest gains on Thursday, recovering from a three-year low as oil prices jumped the highest ever in a single day and President Trump highlighted possible coronavirus therapies.

"This market went from a position of where we were fearless back at the beginning of February to some days like today where you feel hopeless about what's going on in the market", said Wayne Wicker, chief investment officer of Vantagepoint Investment Advisers.

The state of play: The Dow stocks are down 33% over the past month, compared with a 30% decline for the S&P 500, and a 24% drop for the more tech-focused Nasdaq.

Shares in Boeing Co, for long a symbol of US tech and industrial power, tumbled and were now down more than 60 per cent since the start of the year.

Marriott to Furlough Tens of Thousands of Staff, Stock Price Sinks 10%
Once the outbreak is contained and travel resumes, Marriott expects to bring back "as numerous furloughed employees as possible". Through a Marriott spokeswoman, the Journal reported the jobs are from hotel managers down to housekeeping.

"There's a dollar strain on the system, globally", said Faranello.

And Thursday's gains did little to restore the markets after the pounding the main US indexes have suffered in the past month. It was the highest level since September 2, 2017, when they totaled 299,000. It last traded up 0.7% at 101.83 after breaking above 102.

Chairman Jerome Powell of the U.S Fed also accentuated at the start of March that the central bank has decided in favor of adding £870 billion stimulus via asset purchases for sustained economic growth.

The European Central Bank pledged late Wednesday to buy 750 billion euros (706 billion pounds) in sovereign debt through 2020.

The ECB's action follows similar initiatives by the Federal Reserve, its USA counterpart.

Those announcements came as the number of confirmed coronavirus cases around the world topped 200,000, according to Johns Hopkins University.

Earlier this week, Trump said the USA economy "may be" heading toward a recession and that the COVID-19 outbreak could last for months. In the USA alone, more than 9,400 cases have been confirmed along with over 100 deaths. The Senate had enough votes to pass a bill expanding paid leave and unemployment benefits in response to the virus as part of what's expected to be a whopping governmental response to avoid a downturn. With the urgent need to take action, "I do not believe we should let perfection be the enemy of something that will help even a subset of workers", he said.

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