Dow claws back 1,049 points as Fed, Treasury move to restore investor confidence

The stock market will remain open Treasury Secretary Mnuchin insists

U.S. equity markets bounced back after the worst drop since 1987 as President Trump, the Federal Reserve and the U.S. Treasury Department made further moves to restore investor confidence.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
I:DJI DOW JONES AVERAGES 34548.53 +318.19 +0.93%
SP500 S&P 500 4201.62 +34.03 +0.82%
I:COMP NASDAQ COMPOSITE INDEX 13632.841845 +50.42 +0.37%

The Dow Jones Industrial Average climbed over 1,045 points or over 5 percent. While the broader S&P 500 and tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite jumped around 6 percent.

On Tuesday, the Federal Reserve announced it was taking action to grease the wheels of the commercial paper market, which is critical for supporting the flow of credit to businesses and households.

Shortly afterward, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the IRS would allow taxpayers to defer payments typically due on April 15 as the pandemic curbs incomes and keeps some workers from their jobs.

President Trump promised the nation "will win" its fight against the disease and the economy would return to levels "nobody has ever seen."

Tweeting: "The world is at war with a hidden enemy. WE WILL WIN!"

The upswing was a welcome break to investors after a broad selloff on Monday forced the blue-chip Dow Jones down more than 12 percent while the benchmark S&P 500 plunged nearly 30 percent below its Feb. 19 peak. The VIX, or fear index, soared to its highest level on record.

WHAT IS THE VIX?

Looking at stocks, Regeneron soared after the company said it hopes to start clinical trials for a COVID-19 antibody treatment as early as this summer. Other companies working on treatments also rallied.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
REGN REGENERON PHARMACEUTICALS, INC. 498.68 +16.26 +3.37%
INO INOVIO PHARMACEUTICALS 6.51 -0.02 -0.31%
MRNA MODERNA, INC. 160.50 -2.34 -1.44%

Boeing shares fell after a report that both the planemaker and the aviation sector as a whole were in talks for short-term government assistance. The heavily beaten-down airline sector was mixed.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
BA THE BOEING CO. 229.84 +1.72 +0.75%
AAL AMERICAN AIRLINES GROUP, INC. 21.49 -0.08 -0.37%
UAL UNITED AIRLINES HOLDINGS 53.05 -0.22 -0.41%

Retail stocks were in focus after February sales dropped 0.4 percent from a year earlier, according to the Commerce Department, missing the 0.2 percent gain that economists surveyed by Refinitiv were expecting. Elsewhere in the space, Nordstrom announced the closure of all of its stores in the U.S. and Canada and pulled its 2020 outlook.

Macy's also announced it will close all stores, including Bloomingdale's.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
JWN NORDSTROM 38.41 -0.25 -0.65%
M MACY'S, INC. 17.33 -0.08 -0.46%
ROST ROSS STORES, INC. 129.06 +0.34 +0.26%

Ravaged oil stocks traded mixed as West Texas Intermediate crude oil was slipped to the $27 per barrel level. Meanwhile, miners rallied as gold jumped to the $1,528 an ounce level.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
XOM EXXON MOBIL CORP. 61.61 +0.58 +0.95%
CVX CHEVRON CORP. 108.67 -0.24 -0.22%
CLR CONTINENTAL RESOURCES 29.29 -0.02 -0.07%

Utilities led the charge higher, rising amid a flight to safety.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
DUK DUKE ENERGY CORP. 100.59 +1.24 +1.25%
EXC EXELON CORP. 44.48 +0.95 +2.18%
ED CONSOLIDATED EDISON 77.80 +0.83 +1.08%

Elsewhere, a steepening yield curve lifted bank stocks as the spread between the 2-year yield at 0.51 percent and 10-year at 1.08 percent widened.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
JPM JPMORGAN CHASE & CO. 160.81 +3.27 +2.08%
BAC BANK OF AMERICA CORP. 42.00 +0.60 +1.45%
WFC WELLS FARGO & CO. 46.60 +0.76 +1.66%

Blue-chip tech stocks Apple and Amazon spiked but Tesla fell.

Ticker Security Last Change Change %
TSLA TESLA, INC. 663.54 -7.40 -1.10%
AAPL APPLE, INC. 129.74 +1.64 +1.28%
AMZN AMAZON.COM, INC. 3,306.37 +35.83 +1.10%

In Europe, Britain’s FTSE rose 1.7 percent while Germany’s DAX and France’s CAC climbed 1.9 percent and 2.3 percent, respectively.

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Markets were mixed across Asia with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng adding 0.8 percent, Japan’s Nikkei edging up 0.1 percent and China’s Shanghai Composite slipping 0.3 percent.