The daily business briefing: March 25, 2020

Image
Harold Maass
Charging bull on Wall Street.
ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images

1.

Dow posts biggest gain since 1933

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rocketed up by more than 11 percent on Tuesday, its biggest one-day gain since 1933. The gains came as investors cheered the brewing Senate deal on a massive coronavirus rescue package for American families and businesses. The S&P 500 closed up by 9.4 percent, its best day since October 2008. The Nasdaq Composite gained 8.1 percent. The surge came after the three main U.S. indexes hit their lowest levels since President Trump took office as businesses curtailed operations to fight the new coronavirus. U.S. stock index futures rose another 2 percent early Wednesday. Christopher Murphy, co-head of derivatives at Susquehanna Financial Group, warned that such rallies aren't necessarily a sign of health, because "one day pops are not uncommon in a down market." [CNBC, Reuters]

2.

Senators, White House reach $2 trillion coronavirus rescue deal

Senators and the White House reached an agreement early Wednesday on a $2 trillion package to rush government aid to families and businesses to help them get through the coronavirus crisis. "We have a deal," said Eric Ueland, the White House legislative affairs director. The deal includes direct payments to individuals and new jobless benefits, as well as money for states and businesses facing huge costs and plummeting income due to restrictions on public activity imposed to slow the spread of the pandemic. The legislation was delayed as Democrats pressed Republicans for stronger worker protections and greater oversight of a $500 billion bailout fund for businesses. Congress is expected to pass the legislation within days. [The New York Times]

3.

Trump aims to reopen U.S. economy by Easter

President Trump said Tuesday that he hopes to revise national social-distancing guidelines by Easter, April 12, so U.S. businesses can resume operations. The U.S. is a week into a two-week effort to dramatically cut back on public movement and events to slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus. "We'll give it some more time if we need a little more time, but we need to open this country up," Trump said. "We have to go back to work, much sooner than people thought." Many public health officials said the country should tightening restrictions rather than phasing them out. The number of confirmed infections in the U.S. reached more than 54,000 on Tuesday, with about 800 deaths. [The Associated Press]

4.

Nike stock gains after beating expectations despite coronavirus impact

Nike shares gained 5 percent in after-hours trading on Tuesday after the sports apparel retailer reported quarterly results that beat Wall Street's expectations, despite a coronavirus hit. The stock already had gained 15 percent in regular trading. Nike said digital sales rose by 36 percent in the last quarter. Strong growth in many markets, including the U.S., offset trouble in China due to the coronavirus outbreak. Nike said it earned 53 cents a share in the quarter, compared to 68 cents a share in the same period a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet had forecast earnings of 51 cents per share. Revenue increased by 5 percent to $10.1 billion, boosted by 13 percent growth in Nike Direct. Analysts had expected sales of $9.8 billion. [MarketWatch]

5.

Report: Boeing plans to restart 737 MAX production in May

Boeing is aiming to resume production of its once popular 737 MAX jets in May, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing people familiar with the matter. The plan still depends on how quickly restrictions disrupting the airline industry are eased, as well as clearance from regulators for the 737 MAX to return to service. The planes were grounded worldwide last year after two deadly crashes overseas that occurred within five months of each other. Boeing reportedly already has started asking some suppliers to get ready to ship parts for the aircraft in April. "It'll be a very slow, methodical, systematic approach to warming the line up, and getting crews back in place," Boeing Chief Financial Officer Greg Smith told Reuters. [Reuters]