Stock Futures Point Lower as Stimulus Worries Amplify

Tesla was ordered to close its factory in California

Emma Duncan
Mar 18, 2020 at 9:20 AM
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Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) are headed toward an open deep in the red, with the S&P 500 Index (SPX) and Nasdaq-100 Index (NDX) following closely behind. Talks of the varying U.S. stimulus packages to aid the economy during the COVID-19 crisis also has Wall Street on edge, triggering a "limit down" halt in the indexes before the bell. Oil is also taking a hit, with April-dated crude futures earlier falling to their lowest level since 2003, as the aforementioned stimulus uncertainty and a potential price war out of Russia and Saudi Arabia for crude spooks investors.

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

  • Tracking the behavior of stocks in a bear market, according to Schaeffer's Senior Quantitative Analyst Rocky White. 
  • Behind Amazon's coronavirus backup plan
  • Plus, TSLA's court order; General Mills' earnings buzz; and the sinking entertainment stock.

Futures Chart March 18

5 Things You Need to Know Today

  1. The Cboe Options Exchange (CBOE) saw 900,502 call contracts traded on Tuesday, compared to 778,264 put contracts. The single-session equity put/call ratio fell to 0.86, and the 21-day moving average climbed to 0.79.
  2. Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) is eyeing an open 8.1% lower, after the company was ordered to end production at its Fremont, California plant, despite CEO Elon Musk's plan to continue. TSLA has seen a slew of bear notes in response, and will be on pace for its sixth-straight close lower.
  3. Shares of General Mills, Inc. (NYSE:GIS) are down 3.2% in pre-market trading, despite the company reporting a fiscal third-quarter beat and raising its full-year outlook due to current coronavirus-related demand. Credit Suisse was quick to raise its price target to $65 from $55, but GIS was down 11% year-to-date before today.
  4. Movie theater giant Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:CNK) is falling 4% to trade at $6.68 in electronic trading, after the company made the move to close all 345 of its locations in the U.S. CNK will now be eyeing a third-straight loss, and carried a 79% year-to-date deficit going into today.
  5. Today's economic calendar will bring housing starts and weekly crude inventories, as well as Powell's press conference at 2:30 p.m ET. The Fed meeting will wrap up today as well. On the earnings docket are reports from Five Below (FIVE) and Guess? (GES).

Final Buzz Chart March 18

Global Volatility Sends Asian Markets Tumbling

Markets in Asia tumbled, as global volatility rears its ugly head once more. South Korea's Kospi paced the region with a 4.9% drop, while Hong Kong's Hang Seng lost 4.2%. China's Shanghai Composite pared earlier gains to finish down 1.8%. Lastly, Japan's Nikkei lost 1.7%, although February's export data came in lower-than-expected.

European stocks are also in the red at midday. London's FTSE 100 is off by 5.3%, despite the U.K. agreeing on an almost $400 billion relief package for businesses affected by COVID-19. The French CAC 40 and German DAX are off 5.9% and 5.5%, respectively.


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