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WJR April 2020 Reports

April 30, 2020

Some promising news on a trial of Remdesivir to treat Covid-19 sent stock prices roaring higher yesterday.  Today we’ll get off to a much less positive start for the broad market, although large-cap tech stocks continue to roll higher.

Last night, Microsoft beat even pre-coronavirus estimates by reporting over 10 billion dollars in profit last quarter.  Tesla’s earnings of $1.24 per share were much better than the estimated 36 cent loss.  Facebook shares are also charging higher this morning, even though results came in short of expectations.

If there was a takeaway from the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee’s Report yesterday, it’s that the printing press will run at full speed until the economy stabilizes, and although there’s still a lot we don’t know about the virus, we’ve known for many years that in investing, it’s hard to fight the Fed.

Weekly Jobless Claims, the Personal Income Report and the Chicago Purchasing Managers Index are all on the way this morning.

Asian markets followed us higher overnight, but Europe has turned lower and our futures took a bit of a dive during the past half-hour.

Adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are lower by 5 points and the Dow futures are down about 100.  Yesterday the NASDAQ futures were powered by Alphabet.  Today its big tech like Microsoft, Tesla and Twitter as the NASDAQ futures are about 81 points above fair value.

April 29, 2020

The weekly report from the Mortgage Bankers Association isn’t particularly interesting in normal times.  However, these aren’t normal times and many potential home sellers are understandably worried about the number of potential buyers.  However, this morning the MBA report indicated that applications for purchase mortgages rose 12 percent last week, so maybe there are more buyers out there than everyone believes.  Still, purchase applications are 20 percent lower than a year ago.

This afternoon, the Federal Reserve wraps up its latest Committee meeting.  Jay Powell’s report should be interesting as the Fed has spent the last couple of months taking some remarkable steps to save the economy from total shutdown.

Last night’s earnings report from Alphabet has the shares indicated about 7½ percent higher this morning.  Boeing shares are about 4 percent higher, even though the quarterly loss of $1.70 per share was 9 cents worse than expected.

Boeing will reportedly shed 10 percent of its workforce, Uber, 20 percent and Trip Advisor will reportedly shed a quarter of its staff.

Shares trending lower on disappointing earnings include those of Ford Motor, General Electric, Starbucks, General Dynamics and FireEye.  But overall, stock prices should follow most overseas markets and rise a bit at the open.

Adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are higher by 29 points, the Dow futures are up about 201, and the NASDAQ futures, powered in part by Alphabet, are about 122 points above fair value.

April 28, 2020

The beginning of the beginning of the re-start of business in some states and countries is bolstering confidence in stock prices around the world this morning.  Of course, questions remain regarding the impact of that re-start.  Will demand rebound?  Will Covid infections increase?  Only time will tell.  However, for now, traders are looking to bid prices higher.

Earning reports from the quarter gone by continue to flood in.  Through yesterday, only about 30 percent of the reporting companies missed estimates.  That’s worse than the usual, but still not as bad as it might have been.

This morning, Merck, Pfizer, Pepsico, 3M and investment firm UBS reported better than expected profit.  Caterpillar’s $1.60 of profit fell 9 cents short, although the stock is indicated a little higher pre-market.

Not surprisingly, oil company BP’s profit was down by two-thirds.  The price of oil, by the way, is taking another dip this morning, lower by 15 percent and under 11 dollars per barrel.

Reports on Home prices and Consumer Confidence come later this morning, but stock prices should open higher once again, as our stock futures have been on the rise since midnight and are still climbing.

At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are higher by 35 points, the Dow futures are up 328, and the NASDAQ futures are about 90 points above fair value.

April 27, 2020

As some of the states here and some of the countries overseas begin the beginning of opening for business, stock prices around s the world are on the slow rise today, generally by one to two percent.

The famous other hand is the price of oil, with the front month contract down over 20 percent to just about $13.25 per barrel. Driller Diamond Offshore is throwing in the financial towel and filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Deutsche Bank said that first quarter results will be better than expected. However, Adidas is reporting first quarter profit was awful and second quarter sales are expected to be 40 percent lower.

A new vaccine clinical trial has begun at Oxford University. One professor there is expressing that she is 80 percent certain of a positive result within six months. In the meantime, anecdotal news on Remdesivir and Hydroxychloroquine over the weekend haven’t been so positive.

Apple will delay production of their new flagship iphone by a month due to the impact of Covid-19

Most of the big earnings and economic news comes later in the week, although CMS Energy and NXP Semiconductor will report today.

At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are higher by just about 28 points, the Dow futures are up 209, but the NASDAQ futures are about 103 points above fair value.

April 24, 2020

Some disappointing anecdotal evidence regarding Gilead’s drug Remdesivir took the steam out of a sizable rally yesterday. It’s just reflective of how important it is to the stock market and the world to find some sort of reliable therapeutic to fight Covid-19.  We can argue all day about how soon the economy should be re-opened, but development of an effective treatment is the medicine that the economy (and stock prices) really need.

This busy week of earnings reports is wrapping up with a couple of big reports this morning.

American Express reported a nearly 2 billion-dollar increase in its loss reserves due to effects of the virus. Ignoring that and other non-recurring items earnings came in at $1.98 per share, 55 cents better than expected. However, full accounting income was only 41 cents and revenue was lower than expected.  Nevertheless, American Express shares are looking to open a little more than 2 percent higher.

Verizon’s $1.26 was 3 cents better than expected. Verizon now projects that 2020 income will be fairly flat. Previously, they were predicting a 2 to 4 percent increase.

The March Durable Goods Report comes from the Census Bureau this morning and is expected to show an 11 percent decline in orders for manufactured goods. Ignoring transportation goods, expect a decline of about 6 percent.

Overseas markets are lower by up to about one percent. Our futures are off their best levels but are still slightly positive. Adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are higher by just about 7 points, the Dow futures are up 67, but the NASDAQ futures are about a single point above fair value.

April 23, 2020

The weekly Jobless Claims number will get a lot of attention at 8:30 this morning. It’s not a matter of whether it will be ugly, it’s just a matter of NOW ugly it will be.  Estimates of new claims run in the 4 to 5 million rage, bringing the total claims since Covid-19 became an issue to about 25 million. That’s a lot of people with disrupted lives and in need of incomes they need to get those lives and the economy rolling again.

Eli Lilly shares are rolling about one and a half percent higher this morning.  Last quarter’s earnings of $1.75 were well ahead of the $1.48 estimate on better than expected sales.

Target shares are more than 5 percent lower pre-market. Digital sales doubled in the latest quarter from a year ago, and March digital sales were double that a year ago, a sign of shopping trends to come.  In-store sales were lower for the quarter as on-line is the mail-line in this Covid-19 impacted world.

The Census Bureau reports March new residential home sales this morning.  They are expected to have dropped almost 14 percent from the February results.

Overseas markets are mixed but aren’t moving dramatically is any particular direction, although Japan was about a percent and a half higher.

It seems like a long time ago that our morning futures were relatively calm, but until a half hour ago, they were fairly flat. They gave slumped a bit since then.

At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are lower by just about 3 points, the Dow futures down 63, and the NASDAQ futures are about 11 points below fair value.

April 22, 2020

Oil futures continued their collapse yesterday. We also heard a number of warnings about the possibility of second and third waves of Covid-19 next winter and beyond.  Add to that a not-encouraging result in a small trial of hydroxychloroquine and we had the perfect mix for a 3 percent drop in the S&P 500 yesterday, and that is exactly what happened.

Another flurry of earnings news this morning is telling us a lot about what happened but very little about the future, as most companies are not hazarding a guess at what comes next.

Delta Airlines reported a smaller than expected loss for last quarter, with revenue down 18 percent. Of course, the dramatic decline in air travel really didn’t hit until the second quarter.  By the end of this quarter, Delta aims to cut their cash burn in half and Delta shares are about 2½ percent higher pre-market.

Netflix reported 16 million new subscribers last night. Chipotle reported an 81 percent increase in online orders and the stock is indicated more than 6 percent higher. As you would expect, Kimberly Clark reported an 11 percent jump in organic sales last quarter. They beat the earnings estimate but are also withdrawing full year guidance.

Amid worries about possible bankruptcy for some retailers, Macy’s is reportedly looking to survive the storm and may to raise 5 billion dollars through a bond offering.

Japanese stocks were lower overnight, but most other markets overseas are a little higher. Our futures are off their highs of the morning but are still a little higher.

At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are higher by about 33 points, the Dow futures up about 233 points, and the NASDAQ futures are about 128 points above fair value.

April 21, 2020

The never-neverland we’ve been living in for the past six weeks or so got a little weirder yesterday.  We talked about the May oil futures diving pre-market yesterday to around 13 bucks.  For the first time ever, oil futures finished the day below zero.  That doesn’t mean that the gas station will pay you to fill up your tank.  What it does mean is that oil supplies are far in excess of what is needed in this Covid-19 depressed economic world.

IBM gave us their first quarterly earnings report last night under their new CEO.  Although adjusted profit of $1.84 was three cents better than expected, it was 41 cents per share worse than a year ago.  IBM shares are looking to open about 4 ½ percent lower.

Insurer Travelers was hit by some bad weather events last quarter. That led to a revenue miss and adjusted earnings of $2.62, which was 23 cents lower than expected. Manpower shares are off about 9 percent after reporting earnings, but Lockheed Martin reaffirmed full year guidance and the shares are about 2 percent higher pre-market.

Coca-Cola’s 51-cent profit was a 7-cent beat, although free cash flow was 43 percent lower than last year.

Markets overseas are lower by one to about three percent. Hopefully stock prices end the day better than they ended yesterday.  However, our stock futures are even lower than they were 24 hours ago. At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are lower by about 61 points, the Dow futures are down about 633 points, and the NASDAQ futures are about 115 points below fair value.

April 20, 2020

This new world that we are living in continues to bounce financial assets around like a ping-pong ball.  This morning, the ping pong ball known as oil is bouncing off the table.

Crude oil futures for May delivery are near $11.24 per barrel this morning.  Longer dated futures are higher, but in the near term, prices are falling quickly because storage is so sparse that there’s just no place to put the stuff, and demand has evaporated as most people are not driving much of anywhere.

A compromise on latest rescue package out of Washington for small business and hospitals is reportedly near.  A lot of small businesses did not get in on the original funding package due to heavy demand combined with the inability of some of the banks to get the program up and running quickly enough.

One of the few bright spots this morning are shares of DuPont.  They see first quarter profits better than expected and shares are up 3 percent.  DuPont reports on May 5th. Most big earnings reports come later in the week, although we will hear from Halliburton, Equifax and IBM later today.

Chinese markets were a little higher overnight, but Europe is lower by one to two percent.

On top of Covid-19, the collapse in crude oil prices is not helping the stock futures this morning. At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are lower by about 51 points, the Dow futures are down 476, and the NASDAQ futures are about 95 points below fair value.

April 17, 2020

In case you were wondering if some good news on Covid-19 therapies would impact stock prices, your answer came last night.  It’s not yet an approved therapy, it’s far from done with clinical tests.  However, Gilead’s Remdesivir is reportedly achieving some positive and rapid results in a small test involving 125 Covid-19 patients.

News of Remdesivir’s apparent success with that small group shot stock futures higher last night, and most of that gain persists into this morning. Separately, Moderna’s trails to get a Covid-19 vaccine developed have garnered a nearly half-billion-dollar federal grant. Moderna shares are bid almost 20 percent higher pre-market.

GDP data from China overnight reflected a worst-ever 6.9 percent contraction in first quarter Gross Domestic Product. 

Boeing says that production will re-start on Monday on some wide-body jets.  That has Boeing shares about 9 percent higher this morning.  Intuitive Surgical reported first quarter profit of $2.69, which was 8 cents better than expected on higher than expected sales.  Procter & Gamble also positive better than expected result, although they, like most companies, declined to guess what the rest of the year will look like.

Meanwhile, oil prices just can’t catch a break, with the oil futures now under $18.40 per barrel.

Overseas markets are higher on the prospect for a Covid-19 treatment and a gradual re-start of the world’s economies.  European markets are higher by 3 to 4 percent. At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are higher by about 77 points, the Dow futures are up about 731, and the NASDAQ futures are still about 157 points above fair value.

April 16, 2020

Several European countries have announced plans to gradually reopen segments of their economies. That’s potentially good news.  The big question is how long it will take to get the domestic economy re-opened.  Expect to hear the federal government’s guidelines for that reopening late this afternoon. On the other hand, Japan has now declared a nationwide state of emergency through May 6th due to a rising rate of infection.

Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond lost over 17 percent of their value yesterday but are about 14 percent higher pre-market today.  Bed Bath & Beyond reported adjusted net income of 38 cents, which is better than the feared 5 cent loss.  However, unadjusted loss was $1.92 per share and April sales are running 40 percent below a year ago.

Investment firm Blackrock reported an adjusted profit of $6.60 per share, 30 cents better than expected, in part on strong inflows to their exchange traded funds. Still that profit is 23 percent lower than a year ago.

Morgan Stanley reported earnings of $1.01 for the quarter, 13 cents lower than expected. Abbott Labs shares are a little higher on better than expected sales and profit.

The Weekly Unemployment figures come from the Department of Labor at 8:30. Expect another 5 million claims. That’s on top of the nearly 17 million claims filed over the prior three weeks.

Asian markets were mixed overnight.  Europe is mainly higher on those reported plans to get economies rolling again. Our futures have lost a lot of altitude over the past hour. At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are higher by about 4 points, the Dow futures are up 9, and the NASDAQ futures are still about 59 points above fair value.

April 15, 2020

This used to be known as “tax day.”  Of course, nothing is the same in 2020 as the tax deadlines that apply to most people have been move to July 15th.

Corporate earnings reports, however, continue on schedule.  The bright spot of the morning is the report from health insurer United Health. Shares are about two percent higher.  Adjusted income per share came in at $3.72, which was 9 cents better than expected.  United Health also reaffirmed their full year guidance, which is going to be a rarity among corporate news this quarter.

A couple of big financial firms reported similar stories this morning, where revenue was better than expected, but profits fell short.  Goldman Sachs said that profit of $3.11 fell 24 cents short of expectations and Bank of America was 9 cents short of the 49 cent per share estimate.  Shares of both firms are indicated about two percent lower.

Citigroup just reported profits that beat estimates by a penny on strong fixed income trading.  Nevertheless, Citi shares are off about 3 percent.

The March Retail Sales Report comes from the Census Bureau in just about 15 minutes.  Expect a decline in Retail Sales of 6 to 8 percent.

Our 3 percent stock rally from yesterday will give way to some selling in the early going today.  Overseas markets are lower and out futures dropped off quite a bit right after midnight.

At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are lower by about 57 points, the Dow futures are down 395, and the NASDAQ futures are now about 110 points below fair value.

April 14, 2020

It’s expected to be a rough first quarter corporate earnings season and we’re getting our first taste of it this morning.

The first of the big banks to report, JP Morgan chase told us that the Covid-19 pandemic cut earnings by $1.66 per share in the first quarter.  Adjusted earnings of 78 cents per share fell well short of the $1.84 estimate.  Of course, that’s what happened last quarter.  In the forward-looking part of its report, JP Morgan has taken an 8.3-billion-dollar credit reserve, reflecting anticipated loan losses to come. Shares are higher pre-market by about 1 percent.

Speaking of losses, landlords are trying to assess just how many tenants will be able or willing to continue to fulfill their rent obligations.  Word this morning is that WeWork will not be making payments on rent obligations, and WeWork reportedly has 40 billion dollars of those, and Tesla is also asking landlords for rent forbearance.

The bright spot of the morning is the report from Johnson and Johnson.  Profit of $2.30 per share came in 29 cents better than expected.  J&J raised its dividend by about 6 percent and shares are almost 3 percent higher pre-market.

Most overseas markets are a little higher and it looks like we’ll regain yesterday’s losses in the early going today.

At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are higher by about 43 points, the Dow futures are up 386, and the NASDAQ futures are now about 141 points above fair value.

April 13, 2020

We’re coming off a shortened four-day trading week that was nevertheless the best week for stocks in nearly 50 years.  But before anyone jumps to the conclusion that the bottom of this Covid-19 selloff is in, be aware that bear-market rallies can be very sharp, only to be followed by some backing and filling (or sometimes much worse.)

We have challenging weeks and possibly months ahead for our health and our wealth.  Whether we get past the “peak” of Covid-19 infections soon or not, the best investment strategies do not include “panic” or “greed.”

Our first look at first calendar quarter corporate earnings comes this week.  While the quarter gone by will be impacted by the economic shutdown somewhat, the real damage will be to the second quarter and full year outlook, which at this point is anyone’s guess. Those reports start to roll in tomorrow.

Last week, most expected a truce in the Saudi-Russian oil price war.  That truce came yesterday, and for oil and stock futures is was a case of “buy the rumor, sell the news.” Oil and stock futures rose briefly, then dropped significantly.  Both have improved over the past couple of hours, and oil prices are actually slightly at just under $23 per barrel.

Asian markets were mainly lower overnight, and much of Europe is closed for Easter Monday. Our stock futures are still lower, but well off their worst levels of the morning.  At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are lower by about 9 points, the Dow futures are down about 65, after being down more than 300 points last night and the NASDAQ futures are now about 19 points below fair value.

April 9, 2020

Another strong rally yesterday is giving rise to a less enthusiastic open this morning, pending a big bunch of economic data that is on the way.  The one thing that everyone can count on is continuing volatility, as the major exchange trading floors are closed.  That’s reportedly giving the algorithms that drive prices up and down in unison a much bigger impact.

There are a couple of big impact events coming this morning.  At 8:30 New Jobless Claims for the week ending last Saturday are expected to come in a 5 million new claims or more.  Then at 10 o’clock, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell is scheduled to give a speech in which he might reinforce the belief that the Fed is prepared to do “whatever it takes” to keep markets functioning through this pandemic.

Yesterday, Starbucks predicted that second quarter profit would be cut in half, from 60 cents to 30 cents per share due to Covid-19.

Oil futures are indicated about 4 percent higher on hopes of a Russian -Saudi Arabian output cutback.

Almost all markets overseas are trading higher.

Our futures were hovering around the flatline but took a big step lower within the past hour. The one thing you can count on is that volatility isn’t going away any time soon. At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are lower by about 29 points, the Dow futures are down about 220 points, and the NASDAQ futures are now about 88 points above fair value.

April 8, 2020

Yesterday, stock prices in the U.S. finished about two-tenths of a percent lower, after an early rally collapsed mid-day.  The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost almost 1,000 points during the session, more than wiping out a 937-point mid-morning gain.  Part of that retreat was driven by a 9 percent drop in oil prices, but a part may also have been some short-term profit taking after the sharp day-and-a-half-long rally.

Costco will report their March sales data today, which should be an interesting number as people rushed to stock their pantries, but gasoline prices dropped like a stone. It’s expected that the binge shopping drove sales up 25% or so from last year’s comparable period.

Party City shares are about 17 percent lower pre-market.  Party City says that it has furloughed 90 percent of its store staff and stores will be closed until further notice.

Deutsche Bank downgraded shares of General Motors this morning.

The Japanese Nikkei Index rose about 2 percent overnight.  Most other overseas markets are lower. European markets are lower by about one percent.

Overnight, our futures recovered from an early deficit and have accelerated during the past half hour. Adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are higher by about 25 points, the Dow futures are up about 237 points, and the NASDAQ futures are now about 73 points above fair value.

April 7, 2020

The small glimmers of hope in containing Covid-19 drove stocks about 7½ percent higher yesterday and the green arrows look to continue into the early trade this morning.

Stock prices tend to forecast future conditions, and with some European countries reportedly past infection peak, and a slowing of infections in some U.S. cities, traders are hoping that at least by Memorial Day we can start to unlock the economic lockdown.

Exxon Mobil shares are almost 5 percent higher pre-market after they announced a 30 percent cut in this year’s capital expenditure plan.

Levi Strauss reports quarterly results later today. Home builder D.R. Horton is the latest company to withdraw earnings guidance.

Boeing is shutting its South Carolina production line and Lowe’s has announced that all stores will be closed on Easter Sunday to allow employees some family time.

Overseas markets are solidly higher as optimism grows that the world may be turning the corner on the virus.  But be careful out there, there’s still a lot of work and social distancing left to do.

Our futures are off their earlier highs, but we’re still looking to rally at 9:30. Adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are higher by about 70 points, the Dow futures are up about 703 points, and the NASDAQ futures are now about 180 points above fair value.

April 6, 2020

Amid the fear and gloom over Covid-19’s economic impact, there are some glimmers of hope this morning.  Infections in New York appear to be approaching an apex, although we’re not there yet.

Availability of testing continues to improve, with the hope that we could have the ability to test everyone by Memorial Day, which absent an effective therapeutic, would be the next step toward getting a plan in place to get people back to work.

Although the stock market storm isn’t over yet, we do know that stock prices will likely anticipate a return to normalcy well before or lives actually get there.

Online collaboration platform firm Slack just announced a $600-million-dollar convertible debt offering, as many companies are pulling down on credit lines to generate cash to weather the economic storm.

Henry Schein withdrew its earnings guidance this morning and announced that its CEO is cutting his salary to zero through June 30th.

There aren’t any significant economic reports on the calendar until late in the week. We will get the Job Opportunities and Labor Turnover Report tomorrow, but given what going on, it’s not likely to be very informative.

Most overseas markets are higher this morning.  European markets are higher by 2 to more than 4 percent.

Adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are higher by about 92 points, the Dow futures are up about 743 points, and the NASDAQ futures are now about 275 points above fair value.

April 3, 2020

Surprising strength in oil prices spurred by a rumored Saudi-Russian agreement about an output cut help stocks rally yesterday.   However, this morning there’s no confirmation that that cut is coming any time soon, although oil prices continue to rise. 

Pushing stock futures lower this morning is some weak services sector data from Europe. Not that anyone was expecting good news from the IHS/Market March Eurozone services index.  The reading of 26.2 compares to the February reading of 52.6. That’s an all-time record low.

The ISM Report on the United States’ service sector comes at 10 o’clock today and before that at 8:30, the Monthly Job Report.  Neither are expected to be pretty.

One business sector that appears to be doing just fine as more people shelter in place is the sale of beer, wine and spirits.  This morning, Constellation Brands reported adjusted earnings of $2.06 per share last quarter.  That was 42 cents better than expected.  Like just about everyone, Constellation declined to issue full year guidance, but shares are more than 3 percent higher pre-market. 

Tesla shares are about 16 percent higher after delivering more than 88,000 vehicles in the first quarter, which was better than lowered expectations.

Overseas markets are generally lower, but not by great amounts.  Our futures are busy digging out of an earlier hole, and just went positive near the top of the hour but have pulled back again. Adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are lower by about 12 points, the Dow futures are down 136, and the NASDAQ futures are now about 30 points below fair value.

April 2, 2020

We started yesterday with more weakness in stock prices and that weakness accelerated through the day. That weakness could well have been brought on by fear of the two big employment numbers that are coming this morning and tomorrow morning.

At 8:30 this morning, we’ll find out how many claims for Unemployment Benefits were filed for the week ended last Saturday.  Estimated claims figures are all over the place but could be well over 3 million new claims.

Walgreens Boots shares are pushing about 3½ percent higher pre-market.  Last quarter, Walgreens booked a profit of $1.52 per share, 6 cents better than expected.  However, like most other companies, Walgreens is not estimating this quarter’s results due to the looming impact of Covid-19.

Last night, Calvin Klein maker PVH reported adjusted earnings that were better than expected and shares are about 8 percent higher this morning.  However, PVH also declined to provide an earnings estimate for the current quarter.

Asian markets were mixed, but Europe is generally a bit higher.  Pending a horrible claims number at 8:30, prices should go a little higher at 9:30.

At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are higher by about 32 points, the Dow futures are up about 291, and the NASDAQ futures are now about 88 points above fair value.

April 1, 2020

The first quarter of 2020 was the worst ever first quarter for stock prices and the worst quarter overall since the 2008 financial crisis.  This crisis, of course, is different.  That was a massive financial crisis, when people doubted that the system would survive.  This is a health crisis, and while the human toll will be tragic, the system will recover – we just don’t know when.

The Administration’s strong suggestion that social distancing be continued for another month is a good indication that full recovery is still a long way off. 

Quest Diagnostics withdrew earnings guidance this morning.  Even though they are conducting Covi-19 tests, overall testing is sharply lower as patients are not visiting their doctors for other tests that would otherwise be performed.

The Treasury Department’s mortgage bond buying program has pushed the average rate for a 30-year conventional home loan with 20 percent down to 3.47 percent.  According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, refinancing applications were 26 percent higher last week compared to the prior week, and 168 percent higher than a year ago.

Last night’s briefing on Covid-19 and the estimated domestic death total sent stock futures deep into the red overnight.  Markets overseas are lower, generally by between 2 and 4½ percent.

At this point, adjusted for fair value, S&P 500 futures are lower by almost 100 points, the Dow futures are down about 860, and the NASDAQ futures are now 250 points below fair value.

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