A man walks by the NYSE as flags fly at full staff on April 09, 2020 in New York City.
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9:19 am: 2-year Treasury yield falls to 7-year low after record declines in retail, manufacturing measures
Treasury yields plunged on Wednesday as the latest economic data underscored the coronavirus’ devastating blow to the U.S. economy. The two-year yield hit a low of 0.199%, its lowest level since July 2012. U.S. retail sales for March dropped the most since the government started tracking the series, while manufacturing in the New York area fell by its biggest margin ever to a historic low. The yield on the benchmark 10-year Treasury note dropped 6 basis points to 0.67%, after the rate hit an all-time low of 0.318% in early March amid a historic flight to bonds. – Li
9:17 am: Best Buy to furlough about 51,000 employees as its stores remain closed to customers
Best Buy will furlough about 51,000 employees later this week, the company said in a news release. The retailer’s stores have been closed across the country since March 22, but it has continued to offer curbside pickup. The company said its online sales in the U.S. are up more than 250%, and about half of those sales are picked up at its stores. Shares of Best Buy slid more than 4% during Wednesday’s premarket. – Repko, Stevens
9:03 am: Behind March’s record drop in retail sales
U.S. retail sales for the month of March fell 8.7%, the largest drop on record going back to 1967. Economists had been expecting a drop of 8%. To put the number in context, the second worst reading in history was a 6.46% drop in Jan. 1987. With the majority of Americans staying home in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, clothing and accessories sales fell 50.5% month-over-month, while furniture and home furnishing sales dropped 26.8%. Unsurprisingly, one bright spot was food and beverage sales, which rose 25.6%. – Stevens, Rattner
8:53 am: Goldman’s profit tumbled 46%, but bank posts strongest bond-trading results in 5 years
Goldman Sachs on Wednesday said first quarter profit dropped 46% as the coronavirus pandemic wiped out results in its asset management division. The bank said it earned $1.21 billion in the quarter, or $3.11 a share, missing the $3.35 estimate of analysts surveyed by Refinitiv. While results were dragged down by losses in debt and equity holdings housed in the asset management business, the firm’s trading division exceeded expectations, helping company-wide revenue of $8.74 billion top the $7.92 billion estimate. Goldman shares slipped 3.3% in premarket trading. – Son
8:46 am: New York manufacturing hits record low reading at -78.2
Manufacturing the New York area has fallen far more than it did during the depths of the Great Recession, with the Empire State Index for April coming in at -78.2. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting -32.5. The survey was conducted between April 2 and April 10. — Pound
8:35 am: US retail sales for March plunged a record 8.7%
U.S. retail sales for the month of March fell 8.7%, the largest drop on record going back to 1967. Economists had been expecting a drop of 8%. The Dow is now set to open 475 points lower. – Stevens
8:30 am: Coronavirus update
Global cases of the coronavirus have reached nearly two million with 1,996,681 infections, according to Johns Hopkins University. About 127,590 people have died from COVID-19 around the world. In the U.S., 609,685 people have contracted the fast-spreading virus and more than 26,000 Americans have died.
On Tuesday, President Donald Trump announced that he is going to withdraw U.S. funding for the World Health Organization. He has accused the organization of making mistakes in its approach to the virus. However, some have criticized the White House for what they see as an inadequate response to the crisis. – Fitzgerald
8:28 am: Citigroup’s first-quarter profit tumbles 46% as it sets aside more money for loan losses
Citigroup reported Wednesday a sharp drop in its first-quarter profit as the bank built its loan-loss reserves to cushion the blow from the coronavirus outbreak on its business. The bank earned $1.05 per share, down from the $1.87 earned in the same quarter a year earlier. Revenue rose 12% year-over-year to $20.7 billion, due to higher fixed income and equity markets trading revenue.
Wall Street had anticipated earnings per share of $1.04 on revenue of $19 billion based on Refinitiv consensus estimates. However, it’s difficult to compare reported earnings to analyst estimates for Citigroup, as the coronavirus pandemic continues to hit global economies and makes earnings impact difficult to assess. Citigroup shares fell 3.1% in the premarket. – Imbert, Stevens
8:17 am: Oil drops to lowest level since 2002 as IEA predicts crude demand will hit 25-year low in April
U.S. oil fell to its lowest level in more than 18 years following the International Energy Agency’s monthly oil market report, which predicts that demand for crude in April will drop 29 million barrels per day year-over-year. The widely followed report said that April’s demand level could be the lowest since 1995, while forecasting that global oil demand will fall by 9.3 million bpd for the full year. The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on the oil market, sapping demand as worldwide travel slows and businesses shutter their doors. West Texas Intermediate, the U.S. benchmark, dropped to $19.20, its lowest level since Feb. 1, 2002 following the report. The contract later pared some of those losses and traded 2.3% lower at $19.65. Brent crude, the international benchmark, fell 3.7%, or $1.09, to trade at $28.51 per barrel. – Stevens
7:59 am: Airlines jump after reaching aid agreement with Treasury Department
Shares of major airline companies surged in premarket trading on Wednesday after the companies reached deals for portions of $25 billion in payroll grants to help weather the coronavirus. American and United Airlines jumped 9.5% and 7.5%, respectively, while Delta and Southwest both rose more than 6%. The relief program requires that airlines not furlough or cut employees’ pay rates through Sept. 30. The grants were part of the more than $2 trillion coronavirus relief package. – Li
7:44 am: Bank of America profit slides due to expected coronavirus losses
Bank of America reported quarterly profit that disappointed Wall Street, sending shares down 2.3% in premarket trading. The second largest bank by deposits in the U.S. said it earned 40 cents a share, down 45% as BAC set aside $3.6 billion for anticipated loan losses due to the coronavirus pandemic. Analysts had been looking for 46 cents a share. Revenue of $22.8 billion was roughly in line with estimates, while trading volume easily beat estimates. – Cox
7:36 am: Trump says some states could ‘reopen’ before May
President Donald Trump said Tuesday evening that he believes some states will be able to lift social distancing rules and “reopen” their economies by the end of April. Trump said he “will be speaking to all 50 governors very shortly” and “will then be authorizing each individual governor of each individual state to implement a reopening.” His announcement came a day after the president claimed “total” authority over when to lift state-imposed coronavirus public health safety measures. Though many congressional lawmakers are eager to alleviate the economic pain caused by forced business closures in their states, public health officials warn that to ease rules now could yield a rebound in new COVID-19 cases in the U.S. — Franck
7:35 am: Tesla shares jump on Goldman buy rating
Tesla traded 6.2% higher after an analyst at Goldman Sachs initiated the electric car maker with a buy rating and a price target of $864 per share. “We are positive on Tesla because we believe that the company has a signiﬁcant product lead in EVs, which is a market where we expect long-term secular growth,” Goldman Sachs auto analyst Mark Delaney said in a note to clients. —Fitzgerald, Imbert
7:23 am: Stock futures point to losses at the open
– CNBC’s Yun Li, Maggie Fitzgerald, Jesse Pound, Hugh Son, Nate Rattner, Melissa Repko and Jeff Cox contributed reporting.
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