1. Dow set to drop as millions more people file for jobless claims
Overnight, total confirmed coronavirus cases globally topped 5 million. The pandemic swings in the market continued Wednesday as the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed up 1.5%, nearly as much as it lost Tuesday. The S&P 500 advanced 1.7% to its highest closing since March 6. The index hit a coronavirus low March 23. As of Wednesday’s close, it was up more than 35% since then but down 8% for the year. The Nasdaq, led by rallying tech stocks, was up 2% on Wednesday, up over 41% from its March 23 low and up nearly 4.5% for all of 2020. The Dow was up about 35% from its March 23 low but down almost 14% for the year.
2. Fortunes of companies diverge during crisis
AstraZeneca has received more than $1 billion from the federal government to accelerate development of the company’s possible coronavirus vaccine. The British-Swedish drugmaker, which has partnered with Oxford University on the effort, agreed to supply the U.S. with 300 million vaccine doses, and it secured manufacturing capacity for 1 billion doses. Shares of AstraZeneca rose in Thursday’s premarket.
Shares of Macy’s were under pressure in the premarket after the struggling retailer said it expects first-quarter sales to fall by as much as 45%, and it could report a loss of more than $1 billion. Macy’s, like many of its rivals, has been slammed during the pandemic. It’s only just beginning to reopen stores across the U.S. The department store chain is expected to report Q1 earnings on July 1.
3. Michigan AG says Trump should wear a mask
Dr. Anthony Fauci (R), director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, looks on as U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks about coronavirus vaccine development in the Rose Garden of the White House on May 15, 2020 in Washington, DC.
Drew Angerer | Getty Images
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has asked President Donald Trump to wear a mask when he visits a Ford factory in Ypsilanti on Thursday. In an open letter, the Democratic Nessel said Trump has a “legal responsibility” under state law to wear a mask.
Trump has previously not worn a mask in public, and the White House is going to make its own determination as to whether he will wear one, according to Ford. The automaker twice this week has briefly shuttered plants elsewhere after several workers tested positive for the coronavirus.
4. Tech companies look to contribute in pandemic
Apple and Google’s contact tracing system has launched in iOS and Android mobile updates. The tech giants won’t actually make the apps — individual government health agencies will. Alabama, North Dakota and South Carolina are the first states to commit publicly to using the system.
Apple has released a mobile software update that makes it easier to use an iPhone with a face mask on. The iPhone’s facial recognition system, Face ID, cannot unlock a phone if a user’s mouth and nose are covered. So now, when users swipe up to unlock their devices with masks on, they will immediately see a password screen.
5. All 50 states in process of reopening
All 50 states are now in various stages of reopening their coronavirus-shuttered economies, according to The New York Times. The states are moving forward even as models suggest that reopening businesses will lead to a steady rise in the number of Covid-19 cases over the next couple of weeks.
Comcast‘s Universal Orlando is scheduled Thursday to present a reopening plan for theme parks to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force. County officials would need to approve the plan before it goes to Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office for consideration. Disney and SeaWorld are expected to make their presentations at a later date. Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal, which includes CNBC.