Market Overview

Mid-Afternoon Market Update: Dow Tumbles Over 10%; Vaxart Shares Climb

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Toward the end of trading Wednesday, the Dow traded down 10.24% to 19062.37 while the NASDAQ fell 8.48% to 6,713.04. The S&P also fell, dropping 9.27% to 2,294.76.

Total cases in the US exceeded 6,400 with around 114 deaths. Italy reported a total of at least 31,500 confirmed cases and 2,500 deaths, while Iran confirmed a total of over 16,000 coronavirus cases. Mainland China reported 13 additional confirmed cases and 11 new deaths. In total, there are at least 201,000 cases of COVID-19 worldwide with over 8,000 deaths.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

Utilities shares slipped by just 6% on Wednesday. Meanwhile, top gainers in the sector included American States Water Company (NYSE: AWR), up 5%, and WEC Energy Group, Inc. (NYSE: WEC), up 4%.

In trading on Wednesday, energy shares dipped 15.8%.

Top Headline

General Mills, Inc. (NYSE: GIS) reported in-line earnings for its third quarter, while sales missed estimates.

General Mills posted Q3 adjusted earnings of $0.77 per share, in-line versus analysts’ estimates. The company’s sales came in at $4.18 billion, missing analysts’ estimates of $4.23 billion.

General Mills said it expects FY20 adjusted EPS to rise 6%-8% and sales growth of 1%-2%.

 

Equities Trading UP

Biomerica, Inc. (NASDAQ: BMRA) shares shot up 294% to $9.23. Biomerica said it has commenced shipping initial samples of its COVID-19 IgG/IgM Rapid Test – a finger prick test with results in 10 minutes – to countries outside of the U.S.

Shares of BioNTech SE (NASDAQ: BNTX) got a boost, shooting 29% to $86.04. BioNTech shares jumped over 66% on Tuesday after the company confirmed it is working with Pfizer regarding co-development and distribution of a potential mRNA-based coronavirus vaccine, BNT162, to prevent COVID-19 infection. JP Morgan downgraded BioNTech from Overweight to Neutral.

Vaxart, Inc. (NASDAQ: VXRT) shares were also up, gaining 15% to $2.2250 after the company entered into an agreement with Emergent Biosolutions for the development and manufacturing of oral coronavirus vaccine candidate.

Equities Trading DOWN

The Michaels Companies, Inc. (NASDAQ: MIK) shares tumbled 36% to $1.45. Various analysts downgraded shares of Michaels Companies.

Shares of National CineMedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: NCMI) were down 38% to $1.6750 after Benchmark downgraded the stock from Buy to Hold.

Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation (NYSE: VAC) was down, falling 37% to $38.25 after the company withdrew its FY20 guidance.

Commodities

In commodity news, oil traded down 22.3% to $20.95, while gold traded down 2.7% to $1,485.40.

Silver traded down 5.4% Wednesday to $11.815, while copper fell 8.1% to $2.127.

Euro zone

European shares closed lower today. The eurozone’s STOXX 600 fell 3.92% the Spanish Ibex Index fell 3.44%, while Italy’s FTSE MIB Index fell 1.27%. Meanwhile, the German DAX dropped 5.56%, and the French CAC 40 fell 5.94% while UK shares fell 4.05%.

Economics

U.S. housing starts slipped 1.5% to an annualized rate of 1.599 million in February. Building permits dipped 5.5% to an annual rate of 1.464 million in February.

U.S. crude supplies climbed 2 million barrels for the week ended March 13, the Energy Information Administration reported. However, analysts expected a gain of 2.6 million barrels. Gasoline supplies fell 6.2 million barrels, while distillate supplies dropped 2.9 million barrels.

 

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