5 things to know before the stock market opens Friday

U.S. stock futures were pointing to around a 600-point decline for the Dow Jones Industrial Average at Friday’s open, in a wild week of that saw blue chips come out of correction and then back in. The Dow lost nearly 1,000 points Thursday, but was tracking before Friday’s session for weekly gains.

Investors have been selling stocks and buying bonds on concerns about the global spread of the coronavirus. The 10-year Treasury yield, which moves inversely to the price, continued its incredible march lower, plummeting to a new all-time low early Friday below 0.7% before recovering a bit. The 10-year yield broke under 1% for the first time ever Tuesday after the ill-received emergency Federal Reserve 0.5% interest rate cut designed to help blunt the virus’ economic drag.

In another safety trade, gold is having its best week in over a decade. Oil prices were plunging about 4% Friday morning, pushing them further into a bear market. OPEC is trying to persuade noncartel ally Russia to go along with a production cut to support crude prices.

Investors will be looking for any signs of coronavirus impact in the government’s February employment report, which comes out at 8:30 a.m. ET, one hour before the U.S. stock market opens. Economists are looking for February job gains of 175,000, with the unemployment rate edging down to 3.5%. Average hourly earnings are seen up 0.3% from January and a year-over-year gain of 3%. Also, at 8:30 a.m. ET, the January U.S. trade deficit is expected to be $46 billion, down from $48.9 billion in December. January wholesale inventories are out at 10 a.m. ET and January consumer credit is out at 3 p.m. ET.

Facebook is telling employees in the San Francisco Bay Area — including its Menlo Park headquarters — to work from home. The social network is scrapping all Bay Area events and telling workers to cancel all travel in and out of the region. Earlier this week, a Facebook worker based in one of the Seattle offices tested positive, and the company told employees in the area to work from home. Two Microsoft employees in Washington state have contracted the coronavirus. Earlier this week, the company instructed employees in Puget Sound and California’s Bay Area to work from home and limit travel.

The coronavirus death toll in the U.S. rose to 12, with more than 225 cases reported around the country. California and Washington state have the largest number of the cases. Washington state has seen 11 of the fatalities. The other was in California. Global coronavirus cases increased to more than 95,000 with at least 3,280 deaths.

The vast majority of cases are still in China, where the virus originated in December. However, in the three biggest hot-spots outside China, South Korea has nearly 6,600 with 42 deaths; Italy has more than 3,800 cases with 148 deaths; and Iran has more than 3,500 with 124 deaths.

Source: https://www.cnbc.com/2020/03/06/5-things-to-know-before-the-stock-market-opens-march-6-2020.html

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