Market Overview

Mid-Morning Market Update: Markets Open Lower; UniFirstTops Q2 Estimates

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Following the market opening Wednesday, the Dow traded down 2.7% to 21,324.83 while the NASDAQ fell 2.44% to 7,511.97. The S&P also fell, dropping 2.98% to 2,507.50.

The U.S. is now the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic with the highest number of cases around the world. The White House officials project the country's death toll from coronavirus to range between 100,000 and 240,000. U.S. reported a total of 189,600 coronavirus cases with around 4,000 deaths. Italy reported a total of at least 105,700 confirmed cases and 12,400 deaths, while Spain confirmed a total of over 102,100 coronavirus cases. Mainland China reported 36 new cases on Tuesday. In total, there are at least 873,700 cases of COVID-19 worldwide with over 43,200 deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

Consumer staples shares slipped by just 1.4% on Wednesday. Meanwhile, top gainers in the sector included Landec Corporation (NASDAQ: LNDC), up 10%, and British American Tobacco p.l.c. (NYSE: BTI), up 5%.

In trading on Wednesday, real estate shares dipped 5.7%.

Top Headline

UniFirst Corp (NYSE: UNF) reported upbeat results for second quarter.

UniFirst reported quarterly earnings of $1.82 per share, which beat the analyst consensus estimate of $1.65 per share. The company reported quarterly sales of $464.6 million, which exceeded the analyst consensus estimate of $457.48 million.

Equities Trading UP

InflaRx N.V. (NASDAQ: IFRX) shares shot up 53% to $5.86 after the company said it has enrolled and dosed the first patient into a randomized clinical trial investigating the safety and efficacy of IFX-1, its monoclonal anti-C5a antibody in patients with severe COVID-19-induced pneumonia. The trial is being initiated in the Netherlands.

Shares of Chembio Diagnostics, Inc. (NASDAQ: CEMI) got a boost, shooting 52% to $7.78 after the company said it has launched in the U.S. the rapid DPP COVID-19 serological point-of-care test for the detection of IgM and IgG antibodies.

Alpha Pro Tech, Ltd. (NYSE: APT) shares were also up, gaining 17% to $14.16 after declining over 9% on Tuesday.

Equities Trading DOWN

VIVUS, Inc. (NASDAQ: VVUS) shares tumbled 59% to $1.47. VIVUS priced its 7.22 million share common stock offering at $1.60 per share.

Shares of SG Blocks, Inc. (NASDAQ: SGBX) were down 38% to $5.80. SG Blocks priced its 440,000 share common stock offering at $4.25 per share.

Immunomedics, Inc. (NASDAQ: IMMU) was down, falling 25% to $10.15 amid market weakness as growing coronavirus concerns in the US weigh on equities.

Commodities

In commodity news, oil traded up 0.4% to $20.56, while gold traded up 0.5% to $1,604.20.

Silver traded down 0.6% Wednesday to $14.065, while copper fell 2.8% to $2.165.

Euro zone

European shares were lower today. The eurozone’s STOXX 600 fell 3.3% the Spanish Ibex Index fell 2.6%, while Italy’s FTSE MIB Index declined 2.1%. Meanwhile, the German DAX dropped 3.7%, and the French CAC 40 fell 4.2% while UK shares fell 3.6%.

Economics

The Automatic Data Processing Inc. reported that private sector employment declined by 27,000 in March, versus economists’ expectations for a drop of 180,000 jobs.

The IHS Markit manufacturing PMI declined to 48.5 in March, versus a preliminary reading of 49.2.

The ISM manufacturing PMI dropped to 49.1 in March, versus a reading of 50.1 in February.

US construction spending fell 1.3% in February, versus a revised 2.8% increase in January.

The Energy Information Administration's weekly report on petroleum inventories is scheduled for release at 10:30 a.m. ET.

 

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