- President Donald Trump is set to unveil new federal guidelines on coronavirus Thursday.
- On Wednesday, the president met with four members of his newly-appointed coronavirus task force, where he was urged to make coronavirus testing more widely available.
- Dow Jones futures were down more than 200 points Wednesday evening.
Futures on the Dow and broader U.S. stock market tumbled in overnight trading Wednesday, as investors awaited new federal guidelines on coronavirus from President Trump later in the week.
Dow, S&P 500, Nasdaq Futures Fall
Futures on all three major U.S. stock market indexes declined overnight, extending a painful retreat that began in New York trading.
Dow Jones mini futures declined by as much as 206 points. Futures on the S&P 500 were off 0.8%. Nasdaq Composite futures also declined 0.8%.
Equity markets have been extremely volatile the past two months, with the CBOE VIX touching levels not seen since the 2008 financial crisis. While stocks have clawed back most of their bear-market declines, a new round of selling could be on the horizon as investors brace for a dismal first-quarter earnings season.
Trump to Unveil New Coronavirus Guidelines
President Trump is eager to reopen the U.S. economy, but is awaiting confirmation from his newly appointed coronavirus task force on how to proceed.
Citing “encouraging developments” in the fight against the novel disease, Trump announced Wednesday that he will be unveiling new guidelines for ending the lockdown and reopening the country.
“These encouraging developments have put us in a very strong position to finalize guidelines for states on reopening the country, which we’ll be announcing. We’re going to be talking about that tomorrow,” Trump said in a Wednesday briefing, according to CNN. “It’s very exciting.”
President Trump says the COVID-19 infection rate may have reached a tipping point in America:
Trump met with at least four business executives on Wednesday, where he was urged to dramatically increase coronavirus testing before deciding to ease restrictions.
The executives are part of Trump’s newly appointed task force to reopen the economy–a consortium of more than 200 business and political leaders that were previously part of the president’s Great American Economic Revival Industry Groups.
As The Wall Street Journal reported, no potential dates for lifting the lockdown were discussed.
President Trump’s guidelines will likely be directed toward individual states, and may include measures on how to reassess their current lockdown measures.
U.S. Economy on the Brink
Large swathes of the U.S. economy ceased to function in March, as the coronavirus pandemic shuttered businesses and forced consumers to stay home.
Retail sales–a key proxy for consumer spending–plunged 8.7% in March from a month earlier, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. That was the largest monthly drop on record.
Clothing stores were among the hardest hit, with sales falling more than 50%. Double-digit declines were reported across various retail segments.
Separately, the Federal Reserve said industrial production fell 5.4% in March, the biggest decline since 1946. Industrial production is the broadest measure of factory output, comprising manufacturing, mines and utilities.
The National Association of Home Builders’ housing market index– a gauge of builder confidence–posted an historic decline in April. The index crashed to 30 from 42 last month, marking the biggest decline in history.