Posted in: Market News
Published:
April 16, 2020 11:48 AM UTC

Dow Sways as America Desperately Fights to End ‘Insane’ Lockdowns

Protests are breaking out across America and state officials are pushing back against coronavirus lockdowns. Trump is now under strong pressure to reopen the economy.
  • Protests are breaking out across America as monthly unemployment claims surge past 22 million.
  • Americans and politicians are growing restless in lockdown, putting pressure on Trump to ease restrictions.
  • Traders struggled to push the stock market higher on anticipation of U.S. economy reopening.

America is growing restless. Protests are breaking out across the country, and state officials are fighting back against lockdown rules. As pressure builds to reopen the economy, the stock market is tentatively pushing higher. Yet the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) struggled to maintain upward momentum on Thursday.

Las Vegas mayor Carolyn Goodman, made a passionate plea, calling for the end of “insane” lockdowns.

This shutdown has become one of total insanity… I am asking: Open the city. Open Clark County. Open the state.

The Las Vegas economy, like many places across the U.S., has been ravaged by the lockdown. New jobless claims came in at 5.245 million this week, taking the total to more than 22 million – around 15% of the total national workforce – since lockdowns began.

For heaven’s sake, being closed is killing us already, and killing Las Vegas, our industry, our convention and tourism business that we have all worked so hard to build. The longer we wait to do this, the more impossible it will become to recover.

Dow struggles as stock market attempts to extend recovery

Dow Jones futures trended higher overnight, but the DJIA quickly relinquished its gains after the stock market opened.

As of 9:41 am ET, the Dow had lost 105.96 points or 0.45% to decline to 22,398.39.

The Dow Jones dipped into decline for a second straight day, though the broader stock market ticked higher. | Source: Yahoo Finance

It’s the second straight loss for the index, which declined on Wednesday amid a deluge of dismal corporate earnings and economic data.

The S&P 500 and Nasdaq diverged from the DJIA, rising 0.34% and 0.93%, respectively.

Lockdown protests break out across the country

Tension is rising across the U.S., with Americans desperate to get back to work. In Michigan yesterday, protestors blocked traffic at the state’s Capitol in Lansing. Protestors held signs that read:

‘Let Us Work’ and ‘We Are Not Prisoners’

One campaigner, Meshawn Maddock, said people were “sick and tired” of the lockdowns.

This arbitrary blanket spread of shutting down businesses, about putting all of these workers out of business, is just a disaster. It’s an economic disaster for Michigan.

A similar protest broke out in Raleigh, North Carolina. At least one person was arrested as a demonstrators filled the streets. A local business owner summed up the mood among many Americans who have lost their income.

I cry every day. I’m doing the best I can. I need to open.

Trump under pressure to reopen the economy

As state officials and the public fight back against lockdowns, the pressure grows on Trump to ease restrictions. The president is expected to reveal guidance for how to relax stay-at-home rules later today.

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 [Thursday].

The president hosted a conference call with all 50 governors to discuss reopening state-by-state. And the White House drafted a committee to reopen America with 200 CEOs and business leaders. Investors have broadly cheered the initiative to get America back to work and limit the damage to the economy.

Dow Jones investors focus on reopening economy

The stock market’s impressive bounce off March 23rd lows was largely driven by a stabilization in coronavirus cases. All eyes are now on when the economy restarts.

Julian Emanuel, chief equity and derivatives strategist at BTIG, says everything rests on reopening America.

We are now in the last two or three days, not really talking about case count and mortality rate as much. The discussion has squarely focused on how and when you open the economy.

The question is: Will that be enough?

This article was edited by Samburaj Das.

Last modified: April 16, 2020 1:47 PM UTC

Ben Brown @_ben_brown

Ben is a journalist with a decade of experience covering financial markets. Based in London, UK, his writing has appeared in The Huffington Post and he was Chief Editor at Block Explorer, the world's longest-running source of Blockchain data. Reach him at benjamin-brown.uk or on Twitter at _Ben_Brown. Email ben @ benjamin-brown.uk.

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