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US markets not ready for a ‘second wave’


This is CNBC’s live blog covering all the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak. All times below are in Eastern time. This blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks. 

  • Global cases: More than 2,416,100
  • Global deaths: At least 165,939
  • US cases: More than 759,700
  • US deaths: At least 40,683

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

11:40 am: After a crazy 12 months, the S&P 500 is about back to where it started

A dizzying 12-month period in the markets has seen threats from a trade war, a global economic slowdown or even a recession and, oh yeah, a global pandemic unmatched in a century, all of which have amounted to a whole lot of nothing, at least for the shares of big U.S. companies.

During the period, the S&P 500 is little changed — down about 1% heading into Monday trading — despite a series of threats that also has included political upheaval and the end to the longest rally in U.S. history. The year’s sum has been the result of a gradual rise to a new record Feb. 19, followed by the quickest slide in market history, then by a 28% rebound.

Other markets measures haven’t been so lucky.

The Russell 2000, which consists of smaller companies, is off about 22%. An exchange-traded fund that tracks markets in emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil, is off 20%, while another ETF that follows international stocks outside the U.S. has fallen more than 16%. Even Main Street’s favorite market indicator, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, is down more than 10% over the past year. —Jeff Cox

10:36 am: US restaurants on track to lose $240 billion by the end of 2020, survey says

A closed sign hangs on the door with a view of the empty restaurant during the coronavirus pandemic on April 14, 2020 in New York City.

Rob Kim | Getty Images

U.S. restaurants are on track to lose $50 billion in April, with losses amounting to an estimated $240 billion by the end of 2020, as the coronavirus crisis ravages the industry, according to a National Restaurant Association survey released Monday.

Two-thirds of U.S. restaurant workers — or 8 million people — have been laid off or furloughed with the closing of 4 in 10 restaurants, but at least 60% of operators say existing federal relief programs will not help them prevent more layoffs, the survey found. —Reuters

10:31 am: Retailers are begging for the government’s help — but Treasury might not listen

Retail is reeling, as stores shutter and thousands of people lose their jobs while the coronavirus spreads. Now, the Treasury Department must decide whether the risk of the industry toppling is worth putting taxpayer money where many others would not. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has shown little appetite for risk and losses, even as he attempts to support a cratering economy.

Many mid-sized retailers do not qualify for programs the government has begun to roll out to save ailing companies. They are too big to qualify for the Main Street lending program aimed at companies with fewer than 10,000 employees or $2.5 billion in sales. Their debt is too distressed to qualify for the Primary Market Corporate Credit Facility aimed at larger companies.

That means companies like Macy’s, which has roughly $25 billion in sales but whose credit was downgraded to junk before the pandemic, may be out of luck if they want government relief. The retailer is working with investment bank Lazard to restructure its debt, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity because the information is confidential. They added that the company is not focusing on bankruptcy. —Lauren Hirsch

10:15 am: New York City extends cancellation of summer festivals, concerts, and parades through June

New York City is canceling concerts, festivals and parades, including the 2020 Pride march, through June as the city seeks to drive down its coronavirus infection rate, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday.

On Friday, De Blasio canceled nonessential events through May and a city-sponsored concert series that was scheduled start June 22. In extending the cancellations through June, de Blasio said it was a decision “we have to make.” Most of the events will be rescheduled, he said. 

The new cancellations include the 50th annual gay pride parade marking the 1969 uprising at the Stonewall Inn. —Will Feuer

10:08 am: Facebook just released its symptom tracking map

Facebook released its first map that tracks coronavirus symptoms county by county and plans to update it daily throughout the outbreak.

Facebook partnered with Carnegie Mellon University to create an opt-in survey designed to help identify Covid-19 hotspots before the cases are confirmed. The map breaks down the percentage of people per county who have self-reported coronavirus symptoms, such as loss of smell, cough and fever.

It shows, for example, that 1.45% of people in New York County have reported coronavirus symptoms. But a huge portion of the map does not have enough participants to show any data.

More than 1 million people responded to the survey within the first two weeks, according to Facebook. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said the company will roll out the survey globally this week, which will help it provide a more complete picture. —Jessica Bursztynsky

9:46 am: Mohamed El-Erian sees US economy contracting up to 14% this year

Mohamed El-Erian 190326

Anjali Sundaram | CNBC

The U.S. economy could experience a double-digit percentage contraction in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Mohamed El-Erian told CNBC on Monday, suggesting a much steeper decline than most other economists.

“I think we may be at minus 10% to minus 14% growth for the U.S.,” the Allianz chief economist said on “Squawk Box.” “This is a big hit.”

El-Erian said the distinct nature of this economic hit — a health crisis — means traditional frameworks may not be applicable, acting as a further obstacle for a rebound. “The benefits you would expect normally, lower oil price means more dollars in consumers’ pockets, even that doesn’t work in this economy. So I’m a little bit more worried than what the consensus of economists out there is right now.” —Kevin Stankiewicz

9:35 am: Dow drops more than 400 points as oil prices fall on energy demand concerns 

9:29 am: Outbreak at wind power plant in North Dakota shuts down production 

An outbreak of Covid-19 at a wind power facility in North Dakota has forced it to temporarily close, the latest example of how the pandemic is impacting the renewable energy sector. 

Over the weekend, North Dakota’s Department of Health said there were 110 confirmed cases of coronavirus in people connected to the LM Wind Power plant in Grand Forks — a total that includes employees and “their close contacts.” The site, which produces rotor blades for wind turbines and employs 900 people, closed Wednesday after eight workers tested positive for coronavirus. 

In a statement, a spokesperson for GE — which owns LM Wind Power — said the Grand Forks facility would be temporarily closed for at least two weeks in order to “conduct an extensive disinfection process.” Employees will continue to be paid “as usual” during this time, they added. —Anmar Frangoul 

9:17 am: The pandemic will likely leave a lasting legacy on retail: Fewer department stores 

A “Temporarily Closed” sign hangs in the window of Nordstrom Inc. store in the Midtown neighborhood of New York, U.S., on Friday, March 20, 2020.

Gabby Jones | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Before Covid-19 hit, the U.S., department stores were in trouble because they had failed to keep up with shoppers’ changing tastes. These retailers had been investing in ways to win back customers.

Now, their stores are closed to halt the spread of the virus. And no one knows exactly how long this will be the case. 

For J.C. Penney, the bankruptcy clock is ticking after it skipped a mid-April interest payment. Its turnaround plans have been sidelined by the coronavirus pandemic, which has forced the closure of all of its stores. Macy’s, with liquidity drying up, has tapped advisors at investment bank Lazard and law firm Kirkland & Ellis to explore options that include new financing. Nordstrom in early April raised $600 million by placing some of its real estate assets into a separate company and borrowing against the new entity by issuing bonds. 

High-end department store chain Neiman Marcus on Wednesday missed a payment on some of its bonds, according to a letter sent to the retailer’s board from Marble Ridge Capital, which owns a significant portion of the $137.7 million in bonds that mature in October 2021. Neiman Marcus now has until the middle of May to make the interest payment. After that, pending no payment, the company could be pushed into bankruptcy court by its bondholders. —Lauren Thomas 

9:09 am: Novartis, US drug regulator agree to malaria drug trial against Covid-19 

Novartis has won the go-ahead from the Food and Drug Administration to conduct a randomized trial of malaria drug hydroxychloroquine against Covid-19, the Swiss drugmaker said Monday.

Novartis plans to start recruiting 440 patients for its phase 3 or late-stage trial within weeks at more than a dozen U.S. sites. Results will be reported as soon as possible, the company added.

Use of the drug, also approved to treat lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, has soared after having been promoted by President Donald Trump, with some worried the administration’s advocacy for an unproven medicine for Covid-19 has short-circuited the FDA’s oversight process. —Reuters 

9:03 am: Southeast Asia could be the next hot spot — these charts show why 

The number of coronavirus infections in Southeast Asia has risen quickly in recent weeks, with mounting worries among experts that the region could turn into a hot spot for the fast-spreading disease.

The region has reported more than 28,000 cases as of Sunday, according to data by Johns Hopkins University. Collectively, Indonesia, the PhilippinesMalaysia and Singapore account for 87.9% of total cases reported in Southeast Asia, the data showed. —Yen Nee Lee

8:53 am: United Airlines posts $2.1 billion pretax loss as coronavirus roils business, seeks more federal aid

United Airlines reported a $2.1 billion loss for first quarter as the coronavirus pandemic drove travel demand down to the lowest level in decades.

The airline said it has applied for up to $4.5 billion in government loans on top of about $5 billion federal payroll grants and loans it expects to receive to weather the crisis.

United is the first major U.S. airline to detail the results of the virus on its earnings in the first three months of the year. The disease and harsh measures to stop it from spreading such as stay-at-home orders has ravaged air travel demand and prompted carriers to slash most of their flights. —Leslie Josephs 

8:48 am: Germany and others need to fund the post-virus recovery across Europe, Spanish minister says 

MADRID, SPAIN – FEBRUARY 26: Minister of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation Nadia Calvino attends ‘Reino de España a la Trayectoria Empresarial’ awards, in honour of Placido Arango ‘In Memoriam’ at El Prado Museum on February 26, 2020 in Madrid, Spain.

Carlos Alvarez

Germany needs to understand it will have to fund the post-pandemic recovery across Europe, Spain’s economy minister told CNBC on Monday, just days ahead of another pivotal meeting for the European Union.

The 27 European countries that make up the EU remain at loggerheads over how to mitigate the economic shock from Covid-19, despite putting together a half trillion euro package for more immediate spending needs earlier this month. Their main concern now is to present a second plan that will deal with the vast amount of virus-related debt that is expected to creep up across the region.

Nadia Calvino, Spanish economic affairs minister and deputy prime minister, told CNBC on Monday that Germany has a budget surplus that it is “quite determined” to use. “Now, what we need is for them to understand that we need to also fund the recovery of the rest of the (EU) countries, that we need to fund the recovery of the whole of Europe,” she added. —Silvia Amaro

7:38 am: Putin says Russia has not yet reached its peak

Russian President Vladimir Putin said the country has managed to curb the Covid-19 crisis but the peak of the outbreak is still ahead.

The number of Russian confirmed coronavirus cases surpassed 47,000 on Monday with a death toll of 405. (See additional entry below about Russia.) Reuters

7:25 am: Burger chain Shake Shack to return $10 million government loan

Shake Shack said it will return the $10 million small business loan it received from the U.S. government, making the burger chain the first major firm to hand back money aimed at helping small businesses ride out the coronavirus crisis.

The company was able to raise additional capital, CEO Randy Garutti and founder Danny Meyer said in a blog post. Last week, it raised about $150 million in an equity offering.

The government’s $2.2 trillion aid package is aimed at helping small companies keep paying their employees and their basic bills during the shutdowns so that they are able to reopen quickly when public health allows.

Shake Shack said the money it received could be reallocated to the independent restaurants “who need it most, (and) haven’t gotten any assistance.” —Reuters

6:50 am: US markets haven’t priced in a ‘significant second wave,’ says Citi Private Bank

Major U.S. stock indexes may have recovered from their recent lows, but Citi Private Bank warned that the worst may not be over.

“In the event that we have a very significant second wave of disease in the United States that cause a further shutdown of the economy … that clearly is not priced into the market,” David Bailin, the bank’s chief investment officer, told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia.”

“The other thing that may not be priced into the market is the fact that this virus may take another 18 to 24 months to really cycle through the globe, and ultimately have a vaccine,” he added. —Yen Nee Lee

6:07 am: Putin is distancing himself from Russia’s outbreak, but it could still damage him politically

People in medical masks in Red Square in central Moscow amid the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared a week off work and urged people to stay home to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. Cafes, restaurants, shopping malls and parks are closed in Moscow.

Sergei Bobylev

Russia’s handling of the coronavirus epidemic is coming under increasing scrutiny and could potentially damage the credibility and legitimacy of President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin, experts say.

Russia was arguably slow to recognize that the epidemic was coming to the country, even as it spread rapidly among its neighbors and in Italy, Spain, Germany, and France.

On Sunday, Russia saw its largest daily rise in new confirmed cases, with its crisis response center reporting 6,060 new cases, bringing the total number of cases to 42,853. The number of reported deaths remains low, however, with total fatalities at 361. —Holly Ellyatt

5:37 am: Spain’s confirmed cases surpass 200,000, health ministry says

Healthcare workers wheel a patient to a triage tent at the Maimonides Medical Center in the Brooklyn borough of New York, the United States, April 19, 2020.

Michael Nagle | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

The number of people diagnosed in Spain has surpassed 200,000, the country’s health ministry said.

The ministry said the number of cases rose to 200,210 from 195,944 cases on Sunday. The total number of deaths has reached 20,852, up from 20,453 the previous day.

Spain has overtaken Italy, which has 178,972 confirmed cases, as the worst-hit country in Europe, and second worst-hit country in the world after the U.S., which has almost 800,000 confirmed cases, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. —Holly Ellyatt

4:30 am: Austria calls for suspension of EU rules on state aid amid coronavirus crisis

EU rules on state aid to be suspended for countries like Austria that have shown solidarity with hard-hit member states during the coronavirus pandemic, Austrian Finance Minister Gernot Bluemel said Monday.

“This solidarity cannot be a one-way street. We also want to be able to show solidarity with our own companies, and we, therefore, demand that this crisis be used for solidarity in that we suspend the EU state aid regime for the duration of the crisis,” Bluemel told a news conference, Reuters reported. —Holly Ellyatt

Read CNBC’s coverage from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: Spain’s confirmed cases surpass 200,000, health ministry says



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