KEY POINTS

  • Crude oil futures rebounded
  • US now has the most coronavirus cases in the world
  • China’s official purchasing managers’ index climbed to 52.0 in March

 

Update: 12:05 p.m. EDT:

U.S. turned moderately higher by noon on Tuesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 66.87 points to 22,394.35, while the S&P 500 edged up 3.37 points to 2,630.02 and the Nasdaq Composite Index climbed 42.06 points to 7,816.21.

In Europe markets closed higher, as Britain’s FTSE-100 rose 1.95%, France’s CAC-40 edged up 0.4% and Germany’s DAX rose 1.22%.

The Conference Board said its consumer confidence index dropped to 120 in March from 132.6 in February.

Original story: U.S. stocks fell on Tuesday as traders prepare to close out an historic quarter of unprecedented events and extreme volatility.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 100.44 points to 22,227.04, while the S&P 500 slipped 11.17 points to 2,615.48 and the Nasdaq Composite Index dropped 31.92 points to 7,742.23.

The Dow dropped 21.8% through Monday. Its worst quarter ever was the fourth quarter of 1987 when it plunged 25.3%.

The U.S. has now confirmed more than 153,200 cases of coronavirus, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, with New York City as its epicenter.

Italy and the Netherlands may extend countrywide lockdowns, while Spain recorded 849 deaths on Monday.

“We just don’t know how long the lockdown or stasis of the world economy is going to be,” said Toby Lawson, head of global markets at Societe Generale Securities Australia. “It would be very premature to say that we’ve seen the bottom.

China’s official purchasing managers’ index climbed to 52.0 in March, up from an all-time low of 35.7 in February.

“I think the market has established some type of bottom,” said Tom Lee, head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors. “I don’t know if this is October [2008] here; we still have some wood to chop. If we are rallying on bad news, I think that’s a sign that we are probably at a bottom.”

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index, which measures home prices, rose 3.9% annually in January, up from 3.7% in December. However, this data predates the emergence of the coronavirus.

“Last week’s double-digit gain for markets was a welcome relief rally, though market bottoms are rarely as clean as this one has been,” said Mark Hackett, Nationwide’s chief of investment research. “Markets will need to reflect more traditional interactions before confidence in a bottom can be reached.”

“We anticipate that market volatility will resist until liquidity, credit, and health risks have demonstrably passed,” warned Lauren Goodwin, economist and portfolio strategist at New York Life Investments. “With major policy stimulus now in place in the U.S., we expect grim health and social news to dominate the next couple of weeks.”

Overnight in Asia, markets were mixed. China’s Shanghai Composite slipped 0.11%, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gained 1.85%, and Japan’s Nikkei-225 dropped 0.88%.

In Europe markets traded mixed, as Britain’s FTSE-100 rose 0.76%, France’s CAC-40 slipped 0.09% and Germany’s DAX edged up 0.06%.

Crude oil futures rose 4.33% at $20.96 per barrel, Brent crude gained 1.70% at $26.87. Gold futures fell 1.05%.

The euro slipped 0.71% at $1.0969 while the pound sterling edged up 0.02% at $1.2417.