BY THE NUMBERS
Dow futures turned positive Thursday after the Federal Reserve unveiled details of its much-anticipated Main Street lending program and other initiatives — $2.3 trillion in efforts aimed at supporting the economy. Later in the morning, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell talks at a Brookings Institution webinar about the central bank’s coronavirus intervention measures. (CNBC)
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained nearly 780 points, or 3.4% on Wednesday, after Sen. Bernie Sanders dropped out of the Democratic presidential nomination race. The stock market is closed Friday in observance of Good Friday. (CNBC)
Jobless rolls continued to swell due to the coronavirus shutdown, with 6.6 million Americans filing first-time unemployment claims in the week ended April 4, the Labor Department reported Thursday. That brings the total over the past three weeks to more than 16 million. (CNBC)
At 10 a.m. ET, the preliminary April consumer sentiment index from the University of Michigan is expected to plummet to 75 from the final March reading of 89.1. At the same time, the government will issue February wholesale inventory numbers, seen falling 0.5 percent following January’s 0.4 percent decline. (CNBC)
Much-awaited stimulus cash will begin flooding into millions of bank accounts next week in the first wave of payouts to shore up the nation’s wallets. Millions of taxpayers will begin receiving the extra money to pay rent, groceries and other bills next week, or possibly as early as today or tomorrow. (USA Today)
IN THE NEWS TODAY
Billionaire philanthropist Bill Gates told CNBC he thinks schools will be able to resume in the fall but the U.S. economy won’t magically return to the way it was before. During the interview, which aired Thursday on “Squawk Box,” the Microsoft co-founder suggested that therapeutic treatments for sick people could begin to roll out in four to six months, but it would take at least 18 months to develop a safe and effective vaccine to prevent the virus. Watch the full interview.
Global coronavirus cases increased to nearly 1.5 million with 88,981 deaths and over 300,000 recoveries, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. The U.S. remains the world’s worst hot spot with more than 432,400 cases. That’s more than the combined infections of Spain, Italy and Germany. Italy still has the most deaths: 17,669. Spain said its deaths surpassed 15,000. Fatalities in the U.S. rose to 14,808. (CNBC)
New York state’s over 151,000 cases and 6,269 deaths are the most in the U.S. Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at Wednesday’s news conference the outbreak could “stabilize” within weeks if the state maintains its strict social distancing policies. (CNBC)
* White House officials see ‘real evidence’ that mitigation efforts are slowing outbreak (CNBC)
* CDC releases early demographic snapshot of worst coronavirus cases (NY Times)
* ‘Every part of the country’ still at risk — ex-FDA chief urges US to stay united in coronavirus fight (CNBC)
* BofA recording reveals a Wall Street torn between precaution and performance amid virus (CNBC)
Disney shares were surging over 5% in Thursday’s premarket trading after the media and theme park giant announced that its new video streaming service Disney+ now has over 50 million paid subscribers. Disney+, which launched five months ago, was doing well even before of the coronavirus pandemic, which is keeping people stuck at home and spending more time online. (CNBC)
STOCKS TO WATCH
Starbucks (SBUX) said its fiscal second-quarter profit would likely drop by 47% due to the coronavirus impact, and that it was abandoning its full-year forecast. The coffee chain is also suspending its share buyback program, although it will continue to pay its dividend.
Costco (COST) reported a 9.6% jump in March same-store sales, thanks in large part to virus-related stockpiling.
Visa (V) and Mastercard (MA) have both had swipe fee increases in the works for months, according to The Wall Street Journal. The increases were planned before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the paper said it is unclear whether the fee hikes will be rolled out if the pandemic persists.
Spirits maker Diageo (DEO) pulled its 2020 sales and profit forecast, and also suspended its $5.6 billion stock buyback program. However, the company did say it would pay its April dividend as planned.
United Parcel Service (UPS) was downgraded to neutral from buy at UBS, citing a drop in business-to-business volume and an overall reduction in earnings.
The U.S. Senate has told members not to use Zoom Video’s (ZM) conferencing app due to security concerns, according to the Financial Times. That follows Google’s move Wednesday to ban employees from using Zoom on their laptops.
Swiss banks UBS (UBS) and Credit Suisse (CS) will postpone part of their 2019 dividends, bowing to pressure from European regulators. The banks were the last two major banks to make such a move, arguing that their financial positions were strong enough to support dividend payouts.
BlackRock (BLK) will not lay off any workers this year because of the coronavirus outbreak, according to CEO Larry Fink. He also said the world’s largest asset manager will give full-time pay to support staff even if they cannot come to work.
Nautilus (NLS) is forecasting higher first-quarter sales, as stay-at-home orders boost demand for its exercise equipment.
Progressive (PGR) is the latest auto insurer to announce refunds to customers due to a significant drop in driving. Progressive will be refunding about $1 billion, in the form of credits to April and May premiums. Allstate (ALL) and Berkshire Hathaway’s (BRKB) Geico unit had been among those previously announcing such moves.
Stitch Fix (SFIX) pulled its 2020 guidance due to increasing uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus impact. CEO Katrina Lake said the online styling service had anticipated the impact on its business, but not the extent to which its distribution centers would be disrupted.
If you’re one of the millions of Americans suffering financially from the coronavirus pandemic, you shouldn’t worry too much about your credit score right now, says Chi Chi Wu, a staff attorney at the National Consumer Law Center. Your first priority should be making sure that all your basic needs are met. (CNBC)