Monday’s Headlines: The Fed Takes Drastic Measures
A quick note: there will be no Market Talk tomorrow as it is a national holiday in Ireland.
1. In an emergency move on Sunday, the Federal Reserve announced it is dropping its benchmark interest rate to zero and launching a new $700 billion round of quantitative easing, which means that new money will be introduced into the U.S. treasury. The move comes as part of the government’s desperate gamble to shelter the economy from the effects of the coronavirus, with the Fed stating that the cut “plays an important role in supporting the liquidity and stability of the banking system and the effective implementation of monetary policy ... [and] supports the smooth flow of credit to households and businesses.” Markets responded negatively though, with Dow futures pointing to a drop of 900 points when the market opens Monday morning. Read more here.
2. Apple stock fell more than 8% after-hours Sunday, after announcing that it will close all of its stores outside of greater China until March 27 to reduce the risk of the coronavirus spreading. Apple CEO Tim Cook said the company had learned lessons from the outbreak in China and that is why it is taking these steps. Apple made a similar move in early February in China by closing all of its stores in the region, but all of these stores have since been reopened, albeit with limited hours. Get the complete report here.
3. Apple is not the only company in trouble, as sporting megabrand Nike also announced on Sunday that it is closing all of its stores in the U.S., along with other parts of the world, to try to curb the spread of the new coronavirus. Its locations across the U.S., Canada, Western Europe, Australia and New Zealand will close from Monday through March 27, the company said, while workers will continue to be paid in full. Nike shares fell more than 5% after-hours following the announcement, but like Apple, it will keep its mainland China stores open, as the country appears to have seen the worst of the outbreak pass. Read the full story here.
In all this doom and gloom, it is important to note that there is also some good news:
Disney+ released its blockbuster ‘Frozen II’ three months early on Sunday, to ease the pain of social distancing. It will be made available to the rest of the world on March 17th, while Disney+ will launch in Europe on March 24th.