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Stock market news live: Dow posts worst quarterly drop since 1987, oil slumps

Stocks ended Tuesday’s session lower, closing out the worst quarter for the Dow since 1987 and its first three-month start to the year on record.

The Dow dropped 23.2% for the year to date, the most since the 25.3% drop seen during the fourth quarter of 1987. The S&P 500 posted a 20% decline, while the Nasdaq dropped 14% over the first three months of the year.

Stocks have swung widely over the past several weeks in particular, with Tuesday’s losses erasing some of Monday’s steep gains as the coronavirus death toll in the U.S. topped those reported in China for the first time.

Separately, overnight Tuesday, better than expected manufacturing sector data from China suggested the country was beginning to recover some economic damage from the outbreak.

A day earlier, stocks had risen after a smattering of positive health-care developments helped blunt some fears surrounding reports of a still-rising coronavirus case count, extended stay-at-home orders, and strained hospital infrastructure in the cities hit hardest by the outbreak. Johnson & Johnson said Monday it planned to begin human tests of its coronavirus vaccine by September, and Abbott Laboratories recently unveiled a five-minute coronavirus test.

Still, both the human impact and business disruptions due to the pandemic have continued to mount around the world. The number of coronavirus cases topped 838,000 globally as of Tuesday, including more than 177,000 in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins data.

Some lawmakers have already been pushing for more fiscal stimulus just days after passing a $2 trillion economic relief package.

JCPenney, Macy’s, Kohl’s and Gap became some of the latest major public retailers to announce major furloughs as storefronts remain closed. Companies from Domino’s Pizza to Planet Fitness and L’Oreal recently suspended their respective 2020 financial guidance, as uncertainty over the duration and magnitude of impact from the coronavirus outbreak linger.

Amid these developments, many analysts believe further volatility is ahead for equities, with some predicting a choppier “W-shaped” or slower “U-shaped,” rather than a “V-shaped,” recovery. Others, including those at JPMorgan Chase, suggested risk assets could start to stabilize from here.

As equities at least temporarily take a breather from a selloff earlier this month, investors turned their attention to oil, which recovered some losses Tuesday after a precipitous decline during the prior session sent West Texas intermediate futures to the lowest level since 2002. Still, the commodity clinched record monthly and quarterly drops by Tuesday’s settlement.

4:05 p.m. ET: Stocks sell off again on Tuesday, capping off Dow’s worst quarter in more than three decades

Here’s where the three major indices settled Tuesday:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): -42.06 points (-1.6%) to 2,584.59

  • Dow (^DJI): -410.32 points (-1.84%) to 21,917.16

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): -74.05 (-0.95%) to 7,700.1

2:49 p.m. ET: U.S. crude oil posts largest quarterly decline on record

U.S. West Texas intermediate crude oil futures posted their largest single-quarter decline on record this year, closing out the first quarter with a more than 65% decline. Contracts for the commodity were down 54.5% for the month of March alone, also a record single-month decline.

Crude oil prices were slightly higher during Tuesday’s session, rising 1.94% to settle at $20.48 per barrel, recovering some of Monday’s steep losses after China’s March manufacturing data came in better than expected.

1:12 p.m. ET: Stocks decline again in volatile session

Stocks turned around were down again midday Tuesday, with the Dow off nearly 200 points, or 0.87%. The Nasdaq and S&P 500 each also dipped into negative territory, led by declines in the Real Estate sector.

11:02 a.m. ET: Stocks pare earlier losses, Dow and Nasdaq turn slightly positive

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 11:02 a.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): -4.31 points (-0.16%) to 2,625.76

  • Dow (^DJI): +24.99 points (+0.11%) to 22,352.47

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +44.32 (+0.58%) to 7,819.56

  • Crude (CL=F): +$0.77 (+3.83%) to $20.86 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$24.50 (-1.49%) to $1,618.70 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +1.7 bps to yield 0.688%

10:50 a.m. ET: The eventual economic recovery in the U.S. will be ‘U-shaped,’ strategist says

The economic deterioration induced by the COVID-19 outbreak will likely create a “U-shaped” recovery after infection rates peak, or a slower rebound than the speedy “V-shaped” recovery some had initially anticipated, according to Gabriela Santos, JPMorgan global market strategist.

“A ‘V-shape’ I think we should unfortunately discount at this point, because even when infection rates peak for COVID-19 around the world, what the China experience is teaching us is even though the government begins to relax some social distancing guidelines, individuals themselves are still very careful about how exactly they go back to their day to day lives,” she said.

“So demand was quick to shut down, but it’s actually much slower to come back online,” she added. “The better analogy here is a U. There’s a very sharp drop in activity in the first half, there’s a bit of a stall in the second, and then in 2021 is when that strong rebound begins.”

10:17 a.m. ET: Goldman Sachs slashes first- and second-quarter GDP estimates further

Goldman Sachs on Tuesday downwardly revised its estimate for second-quarter economic activity in the U.S., citing even greater impact from the coronavirus outbreak than originally anticipated. However, they also upwardly revised their expectations for the margin of recovery in later quarters this year.

The firm said it sees real gross domestic product falling 9% in the first quarter and dropping 34% in the second quarter on a quarter over quarter, annualized basis. This compared to their previous estimates of a 6% drop and 24% drop in the first and second quarters, respectively, on a quarter over quarter, annualized basis.

At the same time, the economists upgraded their expectations for the recovery in the second half of this year. They see a 19% quarter over quarter annualized GDP gain in the third quarter, or better than the 12% jump previously anticipated.

“These forecast changes reflect the net effect of two directionally offsetting changes. On the one hand, the anecdotal evidence and the sky-high jobless claims numbers show an even bigger output and (especially) labor market collapse than we had anticipated,” the economists said. “This not only means deeper negatives in the very near term but also raises the specter of more adverse second-round effects on income and spending a bit further down the road.”

“On the other hand, both monetary and fiscal policy are easing dramatically further, which will tend to contain these second-round effects and add to growth down the road,” they added. “The Phase 3 fiscal package was much bigger than we had expected, we now anticipate a Phase 4 package focused on state fiscal aid, and the Fed is likely to use the $454bn addition to the Treasury’s Exchange Stabilization Fund aggressively to sustain the flow of credit to private-sector and municipal borrowers.”

10:00 a.m. ET: Consumer confidence declines in March ‘in line with a severe contraction,’ Confidence Board says

Consumer confidence fell but by a smaller margin than anticipated, the Conference Board said Tuesday.

The headline consumer confidence index fell to 120.0 in March, better than the 110.0 expected, according to Bloomberg consensus data. February’s index was upwardly revised to 132.6 from 130.7 previously reported.

Subindices tracking consumers’ assessments of current and future business conditions also declined in March.

"Consumer confidence declined sharply in March due to a deterioration in the short-term outlook," Lynn Franco, senior director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, said in a statement. "The Present Situation Index remained relatively strong, reflective of an economy that was on solid footing, and prior to the recent surge in unemployment claims.”

“However, the intensification of COVID-19 and extreme volatility in the financial markets have increased uncertainty about the outlook for the economy and jobs,” Franco added. “March's decline in confidence is more in line with a severe contraction – rather than a temporary shock – and further declines are sure to follow."

9:31 a.m. ET: Stocks open lower

Stocks opened lower, taking a pause from rising after Monday’s rally.

Early losses in the S&P 500 were led by declines in the Utilities and Financial sectors. Energy was the only positive sector, as crude oil prices recovered some of Monday’s steep losses.

Here were the main moves in markets as of 9:31 a.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): -16.97 points (-0.65%) to 2,609.68

  • Dow (^DJI): -147.43 points (-0.66%) to 22,180.05

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): -36.5 (-0.44%) to 7,735.66

  • Crude (CL=F): +$0.92 (+4.58%) to $21.01 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$14.90 (-0.92%) to $1,607.10 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +2.5 bps to yield 0.696%

8:32 a.m. ET: Futures reverse, sending Dow 200+ points lower

Stock futures’ gains proved ephemeral Tuesday morning as contracts on each of the S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq took a turn a dropped at least 1%, with an hour to go until the opening bell.

Here were the main moves in the three major indices, as of 8:33 a.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): down 1.41%, or 36.75 points to 2,574.5

  • Dow futures (YM=F): down 1.31% or 290 points to 22,877.00

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): down 1.07% or 84.25 points to 7,770.5

7:11 a.m. ET Monday: Stock futures hold steady

Stock futures were little changed Tuesday morning, taking a pause after Monday’s rally. Crude oil prices recovered some losses after a rout sent the commodity down to its lowest level since 2002.

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 7:11 a.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): down 0.08%, or 2 points to 2,609.25

  • Dow futures (YM=F): up 0.01% or 2 points to 22,169

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): up 0.25% or 19.5 points to 7,874.25

  • Crude (CL=F): +$1.55 (+7.72%) to $21.64 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$29.40 (-1.79%) to $1,613.80 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): +1.9 bps to yield 0.69%

6:02 p.m. ET Monday: Stock futures open little changed

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 6:11 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): down 0.02%, or 0.5 points to 2,610.75

  • Dow futures (YM=F): down 0.03% or 6 points to 21,161.00

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): down 0.12% or 9.75 points to 7,845.00

The empty trading floor is seen after the closing of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). (Photo by Kena Betancur/Getty Images)

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