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Coronavirus Crisis, Fed Support, Southwest, Twitter, Nike – 5 Things You Must Know Tuesday

Here are five things you must know for Tuesday, March 24:

1. — Stock Futures Point to Sharp Gains

Stock futures were rising Tuesday, following strong gains in Asia that came after the Federal Reserve promised support for the struggling U.S. economy.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 825 points, S&P 500 futures gained 103 points and Nasdaq futures rose 325 points.

While U.S. stocks got an initial boost after the Fed pledged to backstop the country’s financial system, they slumped into the close Monday after the Senate failed for a second day to pass a massive fiscal stimulus bill of nearly $2 trillion to help mitigate the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.

President Donald Trump on Monday called on Congress to pass the rescue bill, saying the legislative branch has no choice but to act in the face of massive economic disruptions caused by widespread lockdowns aimed at slowing the spread of coronavirus Covid-19.

The bill has been stalled for two days over objections to a $500 billion fund to be overseen by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Meanwhile, Trump said no decision has been made yet on whether to extend federal guidelines aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus after they expire at the end of March.

Trump said the United States would “open for business” sooner than many have predicted, adding the country “was not built to be shut down.”

“America will again and soon be open for business. Very soon,” Trump said at a news conference. “A lot sooner than three or four months.”

2. — Coronavirus – The Latest

The number of confirmed global cases of the coronavirus has risen to 382,108, according to the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineeringand deaths increased to 16,574.

The U.S. has 46,450 cases of the virus and deaths have climbed to more than 515.

China’s Hubei province said beginning April 8 it will allow people to enter and leave the city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the coronavirus outbreak.

Wuhan was placed under lockdown on Jan. 23 as thousands of residents became infected with the coronavirus before it spread globally. Hubei reported that new infections dropped to zero on March 19.

Italy reported a decline in deaths from the coronavirus for a second straight day. Italy, the country hit the hardest by the pandemic after China, reported 601 new deaths from the coronavirus on Monday.

New York’s metropolitan area has an “attack rate” of the coronavirus that is five times the rest of the country, said Deborah Birx, a member of the Trump administration’s coronavirus task force. About one in 1,000 people have the coronavirus in the region, and of those who have been tested in New York 28% were positive, compared with 8% for the rest of the United States.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson ordered a three-week lockdown of the United Kingdom, including banning gatherings of more than two people who don’t live together.

Johnson said he was ordering shops that don’t sell essential goods, such as food and medicines, to close immediately.

President Trump said Boeing  will need “some help” from the government to weather the hit taken by the travel industry during the pandemic.

“Boeing’s going to need some help,” Trump said at a White House news conference on Monday. “Obviously the airlines are going to have a problem, but the airlines aren’t going to be buying from Boeing or anybody else right now because of this difficulty.”

Boeing announced Monday it would suspend temporarily its production operations at its Puget Sound area facilities after a worker died from the coronavirus.

3. — U.S. Airlines Reportedly Drafting Plans for Air Traffic Shutdown

Major U.S. airlines have begun drafting plans for a potential voluntary shutdown of virtually all passenger flights across the U.S., The Wall Street Journal reported, citing industry and federal officials.

Government agencies also have considered ordering such a move as airlines struggle with a lack of passengers because of the coronavirus.

No final decisions have been made by the carriers or the White House, the officials told the Journal.

The Transportation Security Administration reported that passenger flow at its checkpoints was down more than 80% Sunday from the same day a year earlier, the Journal noted. And on Monday, American Airlines and United Airlines canceled more than 40% of scheduled flights, the Journal noted, citing date from Flightaware.com.

Southwest Airlines  said it would cancel 1,500 daily flights, up from a planned 1,000 announced just a few days ago, because it was only filling about 20% of seats on its planes as demand has been sharply reduced by the coronavirus pandemic.

4. — Twitter Pulls First-Quarter Guidance

Twitter became the latest corporation to pull guidance, citing the uncertainty over how the coronavirus pandemic will impact its operations.

The social media company withdrew revenue and operating income guidance for the first quarter of 2020, as well as its outlook for expenditures “due to the growing impact of Covid-19 on the global operating and economic environment and their effect on advertiser demand.”

Twitter said it expects revenue to fall slightly in the first quarter, and that it also will incur a GAAP operating loss during the period.

“We’ll continue to navigate this environment focusing on supporting our employees, customers, and partners, while strengthening our service for everyone around the world and adjusting to a new operating and economic environment,” said Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey in a statement.

5. — Nike Earnings Highlight Tuesday’s Calendar

Earnings reports are expected Tuesday from Nike , Grocery Outlet and IHS Markit .

The economic calendar in the U.S. Tuesday includes the PMI Composite Flash for March at 9:45 a.m. ET and New Homes Sales for February at 10 a.m.

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