The stocks were ready to extend losses on Monday as the weekend coronavirus pandemic worsened and the number of deaths in the US escalated.
On Sunday evening, Dow Jones industrial average futures fell more than 400 points, signaling another volatile week on Wall Street after falling more than 900 points on Friday. Standard & Poor’s 500 futures lost 2%.
President Donald Trump extended national guidelines on social distancing to April 30, late in December, when the death toll in the U.S. rose to over 2,300 due to the pandemic. The announcement comes after Trump said last week that he hoped to open the country by Easter. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, predicted that between 100,000 and 200,000 people could die from the virus.
The stock market has lost more than 20% since it hit records a little over a month ago. Despite Friday’s losses, the Dow was still the largest weekly gain since 1938, supported by Congress and Federal Reserve pledges to support the economy and markets. However, analysts warn that the recent rally may fade until there is a long-term solution to fight coronavirus infections.
“Volatility is likely to continue,” said Rusty Vanneman, chief investment officer at Orion Advisor Solutions. “It’s a race against the clock right now. Hopefully we can get some positive data on infection rates that will peak in the next few weeks.”
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Investors are looking for a slowdown in infection numbers before markets can bottom, analysts say. Last week, the United States led China as the world leader in virus cases.
“Investors want the virus case curve to flatten out,” said Michael Lackwood, founding director of Spring Delta Asset Management in New York. “This will inspire people and get companies back to work, which will help the economy start again.”
Worldwide, more than 710,000 people are infected with the virus and more than 33,000 have died. The United States counted more than 136,000 coronavirus cases, the world’s highest total, by Sunday afternoon, and nearly 2,400 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University’s data dashboard. Further confirmations are expected as the US continues to test for the virus.
On Friday, Trump signed an unprecedented $ 2.2 trillion economic bailout to support businesses and help families in difficulty.
Looking to the future, investors this week will monitor employment and manufacturing data for further signs of how the pandemic has affected the US economy. The March job report is due to be released on Friday.
The Institute for Supply Management will publish its manufacturing survey in March on Wednesday, which could provide clues as to how supply chain disruptions have affected factory activity.
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