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Dow down 300, Fed goes all-in, waiting on Congress

A trader works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange in New York, the United States, March 18, 2020.

Michael Nagle | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

10:45 am: Toy stock jumps after CEO says demand is strong

Hasbro stock was soaring Monday morning after CEO Brian Goldner said the company was experiencing strong demand during the coronavirus pandemic. “Overall we are seeing great demand in our products,” Goldner said on “Squawk Box.” “In fact, our supply chains are back up and running in China,” he added. Shares of Hasbro were up more than 17% on Monday to around $54 per share. The stock was trading above $100 per share in early February. — Stankiewicz, Pound

10:32 am: Zoom Video soars again

Zoom Video rose almost 18% in morning trading, hitting a new intraday all-time high and on pace for its 6th straight positive day and its best day since June 7th. The video conferencing company went public on April 18, 2019 at $36 per share and is up over 327% from its IPO price. The company’s remote working tools have made it a favorite of investors as workers stay home during the pandemic. — Francolla, Pound

10:17 am: Trump weighs potential easing of guidelines to boost economy

A series of tweets on Sunday as well as multiple administration sources revealed President Donald Trump’s fears about economic damage from the coronavirus shutdown. In several posts, the president suggested that he was looking to ease the coronavirus-related guidelines that the White House imposed last week for a 15-day period that will end next Tuesday. “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF,” Trump wrote in a tweet posted near midnight on Sunday. “AT THE END OF THE 15 DAY PERIOD, WE WILL MAKE A DECISION AS TO WHICH WAY WE WANT TO GO!”  Investors worried Trump’s tweet may indicate the president is weighing sending the country back to work before the health system has a handle on the pandemic, leading to greater long-term economic damage.

After the initial all-caps message, the president retweeted a number of accounts suggesting that future guidelines from the White House will call for isolating high-risk groups only. NBC reported that creating a separate set of rules and restrictions for the hardest-hit states – notably, CA, NY, and WA – while allowing other states to return to business is a possibility. — Fitzgerald, Higgins 

10:07 am: Apple falls below $1 trillion valuation

Following the coronavirus-induced sell-off, Apple is no longer part of the trillion dollar club. Shares have slid 28% in the last month, cutting the tech giant’s valuation to just over $981 billion. Apple was the first U.S. company to top the $1 trillion mark, hitting that milestone in August of 2018. Amazon, Microsoft and Google parent-company Alphabet all later topped $1 trillion, although Microsoft is the only one still worth more than $1 trillion. That said, amid the broad market sell-off, all four names have held up better than the S&P 500. – Stevens, Bursztynsky

10:06 am: Tech-heavy Nasdaq turns positive

The Nasdaq Composite erased early losses and traded in the positive territory in morning trading, as gains in big tech companies including Amazon, Netflix, Microsoft and Facebook dragged the tech-heavy index higher. Netflix, a popular stay-at-home bet, jumped 5.6%, leading the advance in the so-called FANG stocks. —Li

9:58 am: Chip stocks jump

The VanEck Vectors Semiconductor ETF (SMH) is up almost 1.6%, on pace for its second positive day in three. The advance was led by a 9% gain in Microchip stock and a 6% rise in ON Semiconductor.  —Francolla

9:55 am: Stock volatility continues on Monday 

Stocks continued their roller coaster pattern on Monday, with the Dow down more than 200 points. Stock futures originally pointed to a 900 point decline, then implied a positive open, and are now back down in morning trading. — Fitzgerald 

9:31 am: Stocks fall despite Fed action, hopes of relief package, Dow down 300 points

The three major averages fell on Monday despite the Federal Reserve announcing limitless asset purchases, which originally lifted stock futures.The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 350 points after the opening bell. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq dipped 1.7% and 0.15%, respectively. Investors are waiting on a government stimulus package announcement as soon as Monday. — Fitzgerald 

9:12 am: Fastest drop of 30% on the S&P 500 ever, notes Bank of America

The coronavirus outbreak, which has halted travel and slowed business activity worldwide, has sent the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 tumbling into bear market territory at a record rate. “The 2020 correction continues to make history, having already claimed the title as the third fastest end to a bull market going back to 1928,” Bank of America said in a note to clients Monday. “In a little over four weeks since the February 19 peak, 22 trading days, the S&P 500 (SPX) has sold off 30% on a daily closing basis, making this the fastest 30% decline in history,” the firm added. The Dow is 35% below its February all-time high level, while the S&P 500 is 32% below its high. – Stevens

9:08 am: Netflix shares jump as Baird projects benefit from cord-cutting

The rise of cord-cutting could be compounded through the coronavirus crisis and provided a bigger boost to Netflix, according to analyst at Baird Equity Research. Shares of the entertainment screening company rose 3.4% in the premarket as Baird upgraded the company to outperform. “We expect Netflix to be a key beneficiary, with our latest checks suggesting strong Netflix adoption globally,” the firm said. – Cox

9:02 am: Mnuchin says Congress is ‘very close’ to a stimulus agreement and must get it done ‘today’

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told CNBC on Monday that a government stimulus package is imminent. “I think we’re very close. We need to get this deal done today,” Mnuchin told CNBC’s Jim Cramer on Monday. “It is very important as you can see, Jim. We announced overnight with the Fed some very important actions supporting the asset-backed market, supporting the corporate bond market – primary and secondary,” he added. “We’re using some of the funds we have, but we need Congress to approve additional funds today so that we can move forward and support American workers and the American economy,” he added. —Franck 

8:56 am: Coronavirus cases surpass 350,000 worldwide 

Confirmed infections of the rapidly spreading coronavirus surpassed 350,000 worldwide on Monday and global deaths rose past 15,000, as COVID-19 spreads across Europe and North America. COVID-19 has now infected more than 350,536 people, according to Johns Hopkins University, and killed at least 15,328 people. More than 100,000 people of that tally have recovered, according to Hopkins. Global cases have more than doubled in the past week, according to the World Health Organization, and worldwide deaths have nearly tripled. — Feuer, Fitzgerald 

8:52 am: Economy must recover before stocks get a boost, says Bespoke 

Bespoke Investment Group said the economy needs to come back to life for markets to recover. “While the Fed’s actions are an enormous help, the only way the markets are going to find sustainable improvement is when the economy is allowed to come back to life, or at least there is a real path in place for how that is going to happen,” said Paul Hickey of Bespoke Investment Group, in a note. “Also, as we have seen repeatedly over the last month, where the market is one minute can be wildly different from where it was a few minutes before.” — Fitzgerald 

8:38 am: Oil reverses losses, jumps 4% after Fed promises aggressive asset purchases to support markets

Oil prices reversed losses on Monday, rising as much as 4% after the Federal Reserve pledged aggressive asset purchases to support markets. The move higher comes after U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude posted its worst week since 1991. Oil demand has taken a hit as the coronavirus outbreak has halted business activity worldwide. Investors are hoping that the Fed’s latest announcement will put a floor on oil’s demand destruction. WTI crude futures have been cut in half this month. – Stevens

8:25 am: Coca-Cola shares boosted by upgrade

Shares of Coca-Cola gained 3.7% in premarket trading after the beverage company was upgraded from neutral to overweight by JPMorgan. The bank did cut its price target on the stock from $60 to $44 per share, about 15% above where trading closed on Friday. The bank said in a note that it expects Coca-Cola’s sales to decline by 7.8% in the second quarter but “valuation ignores potential comeback.” — Pound

8:19 am: Stock futures go positive on Fed action

Stocks reversed course after the Federal Reserve’s announcement Monday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures surged 550 points. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq also pointed to gains at the open. —Fitzgerald 

8:10 am: Fed announces limitless asset purchases

The Federal Reserve said Monday it will launch a barrage of programs aimed at helping markets function more efficiently in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. Among the initiatives is a commitment to continue its asset purchasing program “in the amounts needed to support smooth market functioning and effective transmission of monetary policy to broader financial conditions and the economy.” Others include a $300 billion lending program for Main Street businesses and the Term Asset-Backed Loan Facility implemented during the financial crisis. The Fed also said it will purchase commercial mortgage-backed securities as part of an expansion in its asset purchases, known in the market as quantitative easing. Stock futures cut their losses after the Fed’s announcement.– Cox

8:00 am: Coronavirus stimulus bill fails in key Senate procedural vote

A funding package to combat the economic impact of coronavirus did not get enough votes in a key Senate procedural vote Sunday evening, after Democratic leaders warned that the bill did too much to bail out companies and not enough to help workers. The final vote tally was 47-47, well short of the 60 votes needed to advance the bill. Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the chamber, although several GOP senators were not present to vote due to coronavirus isolation.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the Democrats would be introducing their own bill. President Trump expressed optimism that lawmakers would eventually reach a deal.

Aperture Investors founder and CEO Peter Kraus said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday that he recalls the Senate didn’t pass the first TARP bill during the financial crisis, and the market fell. “There are going to be 2 million to 3 million Americans out of work. I think there are both Republicans and Democrats in that crowd. We need to pass a bill,” said Kraus. – Fitzgerald

7:59 am: Volatility Index rises as week begins

The Cboe Volatility Index rose about 6 points on Monday morning to break back above 70. The index, which measures the volatility implied by S&P 500 options trading, set record highs last week but closed on Friday at 66.04. — Pound

7:57 am: 3M shares rise after company says it’s doubled mask production

Shares of industrial conglomerate 3M rose in premarket trading after its chief executive said the company has doubled global production of N95 respirators to about 100 million a month. CEO Mike Roman said Sunday that the company expects 3M to nearly double its capacity again within the next 12 months and is coordinating with the U.S. government to explore other manufacturing, including hand sanitizers and disinfectants. “As a global company, we also manufacture respirators in Europe, Asia and Latin America, and our products are being similarly deployed to support the COVID-19 response in those respective regions,” said Roman. — Franck

7:54 am: Boeing rises after Goldman’s bold upgrade

Shares of Boeing climbed 2.5% in premarket trading on Monday after Goldman Sachs upgraded the U.S. plane maker to buy from neutral, saying the company has enough cash to recover and demand for air travel will return to normal once the coronavirus crisis is over.

“We think Boeing will remain a going concern,” Goldman analyst Noah Poponak said in a note on Sunday. “We think travel by flight will be as popular as ever once COVID-19 is resolved. We therefore think shares of BA should be procured at the current price … Substantial fear priced in, while long-term secular growth intact.”

Boeing’s stock plunged 70% in 2020 so far, making it the worst performing S&P 500 stock over a $50 billion in market capitalization, Goldman noted. Boeing said on Friday it will cancel CEO pay, suspend its dividend and extend a pause on share buybacks amid the pandemic. It is pursuing $60 billion in U.S. government aid for the aerospace industry, including loan guarantees. — Li

7:45 am: Oil extends declines after worst week since 1991

Oil prices moved lower on Monday, extending recent losses that saw U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude post its worst week since 1991. On Monday, WTI shed 1.86% to trade at $22.21 per barrel, while international benchmark Brent crude fell 6% to trade at $25.36 per barrel. In a volatile day of trading, WTI first dropped 6%, and then recovered those losses to turn positive, before once again moving lower.

Prices have dropped as the coronavirus outbreak has slowed worldwide travel and business activity, just as powerhouse producers Saudi Arabia and Russia prepare to ramp up production. WTI crude futures have been cut in half this month. The rapid decline in crude prices is wreaking havoc on the financial markets, forcing investors to sell other assets such as Treasuries or equities indiscriminately to cover the losses in their energy positions. — Stevens

7:10 am: Stocks set to fall, Dow futures down 500

Markets were set to decline at the open on Monday as investors wait on an economic stimulus and rescue plan from the U.S. government to combat damage from the coronavirus. A fiscal stimulus bill failed a key procedural Senate vote Sunday, sending equities downward. The Dow Jones Industrial Average futures dropped more than 500 points. S&P 500 futures were off by nearly 3%. Nasdaq 100 futures declined by 2.6%. Futures were well off their worst levels of the overnight session, where they hit their “limit down” levels, falling 5%.

Last week, stocks suffered their biggest one-week decline since the financial crisis in 2008, with the S&P 500 dropping more than 13%. Those losses put the broad market average more than 32% below its record set on Feb. 19. —Fitzgerald 

— with reporting from CNBC’s Thomas Franck, Jesse Pound, William Feuer and Jeff Cox. 

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