Stock Futures Touch 'Limit Down' as Shutdown Spreads

Nation-wide U.S. closures are taking their toll on stocks this morning

Deputy Editor
Mar 16, 2020 at 9:15 AM
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Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) futures are on their way back down this morning following last weekend's wave of regional shutdowns sparked by the rapidly spreading coronavirus. Notably, Apple (AAPL) announced the closure of its retail stores until March 27. The news caused the blue chip index, S&P 500 Index (SPX) futures and futures on the Nasdaq-100 Index (NDX) to hit another "limit down" before the bell. Meanwhile, the Federal Reserve announced its decision to cut interest rates to nearly zero and the launch of a $700 billion quantitative easing program, though this is doing little to prop up stocks before the bell. 

Continue reading for more on today's market, including: 

  • Breaking down a massive bank ETF options trade
  • The cereal stock options bulls were eyeing on Friday. 
  • Plus, the cruise sector takes a big hit; Disney releases "Frozen 2" early; and Clorox gets a bull note. 

Futures Chart March 16

5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 1.03 million call contracts traded on Friday, compared to 1.04 million put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio fell to 1, and the 21-day moving average climbed to 0.76.
  2. Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (NYSE:RCL) stock is getting slammed once more this morning due to a coronavirus-related shutdown. The shares of RCL are down 12.6% in electronic trading after the entire cruise industry said all voyages will be temporarily suspended. 
  3. Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) announced that it will make "Frozen 2" available on Disney+ three months ahead of schedule. The news isn't doing much to help the Dow component in electronic trading however, with DIS off 10.3% before the open. 
  4. Clorox Co (NYSE:CLX) is down 3.9% in early market trading despite an upgrade from J.P. Morgan Securities to "overweight" from "underweight." The analyst cited a massive uptick in demand for disinfectant products in recent weeks. CLX was up 9.3% year-to-date, going into today.
  5. Today the Empire state manufacturing index is all that's on tap as far as economic data. New Age Beverage (NBEV), Tencent Group (TME), and ZTO Express will report earnings. 

Buzz Chart March 16

Asian, European Markets Suffer Bleak Monday 

Markets in Asia started the week sharply lower, reacting poorly to the Fed's interest rate decision. China's Shanghai Composite shed 3.4%, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng paced the region with a 4% loss. South Korea's Kospi gave back 3.2%, while Japan's Nikkei lost 2.5%. The safe-haven yen traded lower against the dollar, despite the Bank of Japan announcing the purchase of exchange-traded funds (ETFs) and Japan real estate investment trusts (REITs) to help support the economy.

Over in Europe, it's the same bleak picture. Airline stocks are once more weighing on the region, after Spain imposed a two-week lockdown, while France and Germany closed off most of their economies. London's FTSE 100 is off by 6.9%, with airliner IAG a notable loser. The French CAC 40 and the German DAX are off by 10.3% and 8.9% at last check, respectively.

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