Dow skyrockets to best day in 87 years as market bets on stimulus

Stocks staged a monster rally on Tuesday, with the battered Dow Jones Industrial Average posting its best day since 1933, as Wall Street bet on Washington’s warring political factions to coalesce around a $2 trillion stimulus package to combat the effects of the coronavirus.

The package, meant to backstop reeling consumers forced to stay home from work and throw financial lifelines to key industries, helped major benchmarks reverse a bloodletting that’s taken them deep into bear market territory.

The Dow rallied by over 11% to close up by over 2,100 points — only a day after a sell-off virtually erased all of the gains made since President Donald Trump was elected — and its best day in nearly 90 years. The S&P 500 Index had its strongest session since 2008, while the Nasdaq turned in its best performance in 7 days.

Monday was yet another ugly day on Wall Street, which saw the Dow erase nearly all of its gains from the presidential election day in November 2016. It capped a second straight session in the red after the U.S. Senate again failed to approve a nearly $2 trillion economic rescue package, disappointing investors hoping to see a speedy authorization of the relief legislation.

The repeat stalling of the Senate bill came just hours after the U.S. Federal Reserve unleashed its own set of new and extensive measures to help keep corporate credit flows and other critical parts of financial markets functioning smoothly. The new program included unprecedented measures from the Fed, including purchases of eligible corporate bonds from companies and exchange-traded funds, and purchases of commercial mortgage-backed securities.

Damage from the outbreak has taken a massive toll on small and local businesses, as well as the country’s largest corporations, as residents practice social distancing and shun leisure and travel. These huge, if temporary, societal changes have been aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus, which has sickened more than 46,000 U.S. citizens as of Tuesday morning, according to Johns Hopkins data.

The ensuing business disruptions and economic uncertainty has weighed heavily on risk assets, with the S&P 500 tumbling by about 34% from its recent closing high on February 19.

4:00 p.m. ET: Stocks stage a huge rally ahead of stimulus

Stocks surged on Tuesday as investors bet on a stimulus package clearing Congress.

Here were the main moves in markets as of 4:00 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +208.99 (+9.34%) to 2,446.39

  • Dow (^DJI): +2,093.11 (+11.26%) to 20,685.04

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +557.18 (+8.12%) to 7,417.86

  • Crude (CL=F): +$0.49 (+2.10%) to $23.85 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): +$90.10 (+5.75%) to $1,657.70 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +5.2 bps to yield 0.8160%

1:16 p.m. ET: Stocks extend gains

Stocks continued to march higher during Tuesday’s session. The Dow and S&P 500 were each up more than 7%.

The Energy sector led gains in the S&P 500, with the sector outperforming with a 11.7% advance. Chevron led gains in the Dow, followed by Boeing.

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 1:20 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): 2,396.11, +158.71 (+7.09%)

  • Dow (^DJI): 20,128.28, +1,536.35 (+8.26%)

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): 7,245.23, +384.57 (+5.59%)

  • Crude (CL=F): #23.14 per barrel, -$0.22 (-0.94%)

  • Gold (GC=F): $1,652.10, +$84.50 (+5.39%)

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): yielding 0.837%, up 7 basis points

11:15 a.m. ET: Gold rallies, suggesting investors are done selling (for now)

One of the more curious features of the current market volatility has been gold (GC=F), which hasn’t behaved much like a safe-haven as traders liquidate positions. The Fed’s “Big Bertha” stimulus, which several market commentators have branded “QE-infinity” means that bullion’s sell-off may be done in the short term (especially with the dollar weakening), and investors are starting to focus on the ugly fundamentals to come.

10:40 a.m. ET: Air travel industry to suffer $252 billion revenue hit in 2020 as companies face ‘gravest crisis’: IATA

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) again revised its expectations for the air travel industry’s revenue damage induced by the coronavirus outbreak, and now sees an even deeper reduction over last year.

Air passenger revenue could drop by $252 billion in 2020, representing a 44% decline over 2019, IATA said in a statement Tuesday. Global airlines will require $200 billion in liquidity support “simply to make it through,” the organization said.

At the beginning of March, IATA saw $113 billion in lost revenue this year for the passenger airline industry. However, this prediction came before global authorities began imposing strict travel restrictions that undercut the international air travel market.

“The airline industry faces its gravest crisis. Within a matter of a few weeks, our previous worst case scenario is looking better than our latest estimates,” IATA CEO Alexandre de Juniac said in a statement. “But without immediate government relief measures, there will not be an industry left standing.”

10:25 a.m. ET: Netflix soaring as more people on lockdown

“Quarantine and chill” jokes aside, Netflix (NFLX) is getting a huge boost from the U.S. economic shutdown. More states and cities forcing businesses to close — and keeping people off the streets — is translating to more watchers and higher subscriptions. The streaming giant’s market cap is now higher than Disney’s (DIS) which in theory should also be seeing a coronavirus boost to its Disney-Plus platform.

Netflix’s stock is up over 1% on the session around $364, while Disney is surging by nearly 12% on the day above $94. Both are off their 52 week highs amid the market carnage — but Netflix is decidedly closer to its peak near $394.

10:05 a.m. ET: No daylight between Biden, Trump ahead of election

Political betting site Smarkets show both former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump as have a 46% shot of winning the general election in November, with Paddy Power showing the president slightly edging out his challenger. As early as February, most predictive markets saw Trump leading at 60%, but Biden's surge and the coronavirus crisis have chipped away at his odds.

According to Sarbjit Bakhshi, Smarkets head of political markets:

"President Trump’s daily media briefings on the coronavirus outbreak are some of the most serious of his presidency. How he handles this global crisis, and its effect on his much-cherished American economy, will be fresh in the electorate’s mind come November, should the 2020 election go ahead as planned. If he shuts down the US for months, the economy will be damaged, if he reopens it after a few weeks, lives could be put at risk.

It comes as Anthony Scaramucci, Trump’s former communications director turned antagonist, said he now believes Trump has an “even money” shot to win in November, based largely on his rebound from his initial shaky response to the outbreak.

Meanwhile, Biden has taken heat from even some Democrats for his lack of visibility as the crisis grows more acute.

9:45 a.m. ET: IHS/Markit Purchasing Manager Index slumps to worst levels since 2009

The U.S. manufacturing sector is doing just as badly as you’d expect in a pandemic, with IHS/Markit’s PMI for March showing the sector contracted by more than expected. The flash reading plunged to a record low of 39.1, all the way from a reading of 49.4 in February and well below consensus forecasts.

For markets, much of March’s data is likely to be baked into prices, with investors now focused on stimulus efforts — and a timetable for when the economy (and life in America) can begin normalizing.

9:30 a.m. ET: Stocks surge at the opening bell

Growing hopes for consensus on a coronavirus economic rescue package sent the Dow skyrocketing by over 1,000 points at the opening bell, as investors hoped that Congress and the White House will break the political log jam as the pandemic keeps the economy shuttered.

Here were the main moves in markets as of 9:30 a.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): 2,361.77, +124.37 (+5.56%)

  • Dow (^DJI): 19,753.78, +1,161.85 (+6.25%)

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): 7,207.26, +346.59 (+5.05%)

  • Crude (CL=F): $24.31 per barrel, +0.95 (+4.07%)

  • Gold (GC=F): $1,671.90, +$104.30 (+6.65%)

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): yielding 0.8580, up 9.4 basis points

7:15 a.m. ET Tuesday: Stock futures rally to hit “limit up”

Contracts on the S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq extended gains Tuesday morning in an at least temporary bid to recover some steep losses from recent sessions.

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 7:15 a.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 2,33.50, +5.09% or +113 points

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 19,408.00 +4.93% or +911 points

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 7,321.5, +4.82% or +337.00 points

  • Crude (CL=F): $24.60 per barrel, +5.31% or +$1.24

  • Gold (GC=F): $1,662.40 per ounce, +$94.80 or +6.05%

  • 10-year Treasury note (^TNX): yielding 0.805%, up 3.8 bps

6:02 p.m. ET Monday: Stock futures open higher, reversing some losses from the regular session

Futures for each of the three major indices rose Monday evening as investors looked to Washington policymakers to provide relief in the face of the escalating domestic coronavirus outbreak.

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 6:02 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): 2,246.5, +1.17% or +26 points

  • Dow futures (YM=F): 18,733.00, +1.28% or +236 points

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): 7,062.75, +1.12% or +78.25 points

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