Stocks attempted a rally from Wednesday’s brutal losses as central bankers around the world are pulling out all the stops to blunt the effects of the COVID-19 outbreak, plus more in today’s Closing Bell on Money & Markets.
The Top Story
The Federal Reserve opened swap lines with central banks in nine countries to preserve the dollar’s strength globally, the latest emergency action employed over the past two weeks amid the economic crisis born out of a global pandemic. The Fed also cut its benchmark interest rate to near zero and restarted quantitative easing.
“We have had some pretty bold moves by the Fed in the last week or two and most of them have had a very short-lived impact on the market, so hopefully this one will help,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.
The European Central Bank also pledged to buy 750 billion euros ($819 billion) worth of sovereign debt through 2020.
Of course, Thursday’s gains were small compared to the absolute beating markets have taken since mid-February’s record highs.
The S&P 500, which has shed about $8.7 trillion over the past month, rebounded from an early 3.3% hole to close up 0.5%.
Meanwhile, the Nasdaq got the day’s biggest pop, finishing up 2.3% as Amazon shares continue to surge (more on that later).
“Active investors are using this as an opportunity to maybe pick up what might be perceived as bargains because nobody’s really sure how to value stocks right now,” said Robert Pavlik, chief investment strategist and senior portfolio manager at SlateStone Wealth LLC in New York.
Stock Market Update: Closing Bell*
S&P 500: 2,409 (+0.5%)
DOW: 20,088 (+1%)
NASDAQ: 7,150 (+2.3%)
GOLD: $1,478.30 (+0.1%)
BITCOIN: $6,205.15 (+16.8%)
U.S. 10-YEAR YIELD: 1.186%
*- as of 4:05 p.m.
A Big Win
In this morning’s Opening Bell we mentioned Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Nasdaq: REGN). The company is developing a COVID-19 vaccine and it recently announced it has identified antibodies that could be used to treat the virus. Regeneron is a fairly expensive stock, and it finished up 1% after spiking as much as 6.3% earlier in the day.
Gold traded slightly down by about -.04% to $1,472.30 at 3:20 p.m. EDT as markets finally began to stabilize a bit and the dollar rose.
“Clearly gold’s safe-haven status has not been held up,” said David Meger, director of metals trading at High Ridge Futures. “Players are moving towards cash.
“Also, we have seen an extremely strong move in the dollar over the course of the last several sessions. As we do see more central banks around the world act in regards to coronavirus, we do see the dollar is the flight to safety.”
By 4:05 p.m. EDT, gold managed to eke out a 0.1% gain.
Silver was trading up more than 3.3% while Palladium made a big jump, up nearly 9% to $1,544.00. Platinum joined gold in a dip, down about 1.9% to $593.60.
The coronavirus panic is sending cannabis sales soaring in California and online sales are spiking in Colorado. According to the Los Angeles Times, in-state dispensary-to-consumer delivery average order volume is up 38% on March 16 over a typical Monday. The number of deliveries also increased 38% and first-time deliveries were up 51%.
Today’s Big Winners:
Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) +2.7% — Since falling to $1,638 a share earlier this week, the e-commerce titan is now trading back up around $1,925, rising almost 10% in the past week as more and more people are forced to order items through delivery
Cinemark (NYSE: CNK) +73% — It has not bee a good few months for the movie theater chain but today was a bit of a bounce back.
Today’s Big Losers:
BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX) -35% — BioNTech finally began to come back down to earth a bit after a meteoric rise the past week. The stock was trading around $30 on March 13 before shooting all the way up to about $97 on March 18.
Check back for the most important news and numbers each day after the Closing Bell, only on Money & Markets.