Dow futures fall more than 200 points after market posts worst first quarter on record

U.S. stock futures moved lower in overnight trading and pointed to declines at the open on Wednesday, following the end of the worst first quarter on record for the Dow and S&P 500 spurred by the coronavirus sell-off.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures fell more than 1.2%, indicating a loss of about 220 points. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq were also set to open lower, with losses of 25 points and 55 points, respectively.

President Donald Trump said Tuesday evening the U.S. should prepare for a “very, very painful two weeks” from the rampant coronavirus.  White House officials are projecting between 100,000 and 240,000 virus deaths in the U.S.

“This is going to be a rough two-week period,” Trump said at a White House press conference. “When you look at night the kind of death that has been caused by this invisible enemy, it’s incredible.”

On Tuesday, the Dow fell 410 points or 1.8% to 21,917.16, weighed down by American Express, which dropped more than 5%. The S&P 500 fell 1.6% to 2,584.59 and Nasdaq Composite dropped nearly 1% to 7,700.10. At its session high, the Dow was up more than 150 points. 

The Dow secured its worst first-quarter performance ever, losing more than 23% of its value in the first three months of 2020. The 30-stock benchmark had its worst quarter since 1987. The S&P 500 fell 20% in the first quarter, its worst first quarter ever and its biggest quarterly loss since 2008. The Nasdaq fell more than 14% in the first quarter. 

DoubleLine Capital CEO Jeffrey Gundlach said that the coronavirus driven market rout will worsen again in April, taking out the March low. 

“The low we hit in the middle of March … I would bet that low will get taken out,” Gundlach said in an investor webcast on Tuesday. “The market has really made it back to a resistance zone. … Take out the low of march and then we’ll get a more enduring low.”

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a nationwide shutdown of the economy, halting business production and leaving millions of American workers unemployed. The unprecedented societal disruption has caused financial distress and volatility never seen before, ultimately causing the wort first quarter in history for both the Dow and the S&P 500. 

“The quarter will be remembered as the fastest and greatest drop in the stock Market for the start of any post-war bear market,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group. “This reflects the fact that this Bear is the only one cause by a recession which was simply ‘proclaimed’ as leaders announced they were essential shutting down the economy. Since a recession was ensured, the Bear skipped all its normal foreplay and simply went right to the end fully reflecting a recession almost immediately.” 

U.S. oil experienced its worst month and quarter in history, losing more than 66% of its value in the first three months of the year. Demand has evaporated due to the coronavirus outbreak and a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN that he is starting to see “glimmers” that social distancing is helping to lessen the spread of the coronavirus. Meanwhile, U.S. cases of the fast-spreading virus have topped 177,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. The death roll from the virus in America has surpassed 3,400. 

Wall Street also posted sharp losses for the month. The Dow and S&P 500 fell 13.7% and 12.5%, respectively, in March for their worst one-month declines since the 2008 financial crisis. 

However, stocks have managed to rally towards the end of month. Investors are hoping the market has bottomed, with many strategists expecting a “V” shaped recovery, a sharp drop in GDP in the second quarter and a swift snapback in the third quarter. The so-called bond king Gundlach called those estimates “highly, highly optimistic.” 

On Wednesday, private payroll data is expected to show an evaporation in job creation. Moody’s ADP Employment data for March will be released, with economists expecting a fall of 125,000 jobs, compared to April’s addition of 183,000 non-government jobs. Markit Manufacturing PMI and ISM manufacturing index for March will also be released on Wednesday. 

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It’s going to be a ‘very, very painful two weeks’

President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, March 29, 2020.

Al Drago | Reuters

President Donald Trump prepared Americans for a coming surge in coronavirus cases, calling COVID-19 a plague and saying the U.S. is facing a “very, very painful two weeks.” 

“This is going to be a rough two-week period,” Trump said at a White House press conference Tuesday. “When you look at night the kind of death that has been caused by this invisible enemy, it’s incredible.”

The U.S. has more coronavirus cases than any other country in the world with 184,000 confirmed infections, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. New York has now become the new epicenter of the outbreak in the world with 75,795 confirmed cases as of Tuesday morning, more reported infections than China’s Hubei province where the coronavirus emerged in December. 

Earlier in the day, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said the outbreak in the state may not peak for three weeks.

“I’m tired of being behind this virus. We’ve been behind this virus from day one,” the governor said in Albany. “We underestimated this virus. It’s more powerful, it’s more dangerous than we expected.”

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates. 

Amazon, Microsoft end first quarter higher as tech peers fall

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (L) and Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos visit before a meeting of the White House American Technology Council in the State Dining Room of the White House June 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Chip Somodevilla | Getty Images

Shares of Microsoft and Amazon closed the year’s first quarter in the black, while its tech peers followed the broader market sell-off due to impacts from COVID-19. 

Microsoft stock closed up by a razor-thin .00006% in the past three months, while Amazon rose 5.43% during the market’s worst first quarter ever, according to FactSet. The historic market volatility, however, caused their tech peers to close in the red for the past three months. Apple closed down 13.4% while Alphabet fell 13.25% in the past quarter. 

Companies have spent the last quarter warning about the impacts the deadly coronavirus pandemic will have on operations. Microsoft said last month it didn’t expect to reach its quarterly revenue target for the business segment that includes Windows because of coronavirus-related interruptions to the supply chain, but also said demand was solid. Microsoft has also benefited from high usage of cloud services.

Amazon meanwhile, has seen a surge in shoppers looking for supplies to get them through the emergency, including hand sanitizer, as well as high demand for Amazon Web Services by companies such as Slack and Zoom, who are meeting high demand while relying in part on Amazon infrastructure.

Investors are continuing to monitor the worsening COVID-19 pandemic. As of Tuesday, there are more than 177,000 confirmed cases and at least 3,440 deaths in the U.S., according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

-With reporting from CNBC’s Jesse Pound.

NYC Mayor orders investigation of Amazon’s firing of strike organizer

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said Tuesday he has ordered the city’s human rights commissioner to investigate Amazon’s decision to fire a warehouse worker who organized a strike at its Staten Island warehouse.

Chris Smalls, a warehouse worker at the facility, known as JFK8, organized a strike on Monday to call attention to the lack of protective measures for workers who continue to be on the job amid the coronavirus.

Smalls claims he was fired by Amazon in retaliation of his decision to organize the strike. Amazon said it fired Smalls after he “received multiple warnings for violating social distancing guidelines.”

“I’ve ordered the city’s commission on human rights to investigate Amazon immediately to determine if that’s true,” de Blasio said at a press conference Tuesday. “If so, that would be a violation of our city’s human rights law and we would act on it immediately.”

An Amazon spokesperson told CNBC in a statement that Smalls had been ordered to remain in quarantine after he came into close contact with an associate who tested positive for the virus.

“Despite that instruction to stay home with pay, he came onsite on March 30, further putting the teams at risk,” the spokesperson said. “This is unacceptable and we have terminated his employment as a result of these multiple safety issues.”

Smalls and other employees walked out to call attention to the lack of protections for warehouse workers. The workers are also urging Amazon to close the facility after a worker tested positive for the coronavirus last week. The organizers said that at least 50 people joined the walkout. Amazon said only 15 people took part in the walkout.

The decision to fire Smalls drew criticism from New York State Attorney General Letitia James, who called the move “disgraceful” Monday night. James said the Office of the Attorney General is “considering all legal options,” as well as calling on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) to investigate the incident. A spokesman from the NLRB told CNBC that in order for the agency to begin an investigation, it must receive a charge. The spokesman said the NLRB has yet to receive any charges against Amazon that originate in New York.

Trump calls for $2 trillion infrastructure plan

Sergio Hernandez works on the median just east of the new I-25 interchange in Castle Rock, Colorado.

Helen H. Richardson | The Denver Post | Getty lmages

President Donald Trump is ready to spend again. 

Four days after signing an unprecedented $2 trillion relief bill to blunt the economic damage from the coronavirus pandemic, the president on Tuesday called for the U.S. to spend another couple trillion bucks on a massive infrastructure package. In a tweet, he wrote that “this is the time” to craft an infrastructure overhaul with U.S. interest rates at zero during the crisis. 

“It should be VERY BIG & BOLD, Two Trillion Dollars, and be focused solely on jobs and rebuilding the once great infrastructure of our Country! Phase 4,” the president said, referencing the three pieces of emergency legislation lawmakers have already passed to combat the outbreak rampaging across the U.S. 

Trump has long pushed for a proposal to revamp American roads, bridges and airports, and Democratic congressional leaders saw the issue as a key area where they could cooperate with the Republican president when he first took office. But efforts to put together a sprawling infrastructure plan have fallen apart. 

Last April, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Trump and Democrats agreed on the outline of a $2 trillion package. A month later, Trump then walked out of an infrastructure meeting, saying he would not work with Democrats on the issue while they investigated his administration. 

Circumstances have changed: The House impeached Trump in December and the Senate acquitted him in February. COVID-19 has shredded the U.S. economy, jammed hospitals and stretched stores of health-care equipment, making federal intervention more appealing across the ideological spectrum. 

In interviews this week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has pushed for infrastructure investment as part of the next phase of the federal response. She wants components related to health care and the digital economy. 

Schumer, meanwhile, has pushed for a “Marshall Plan” to strengthen the U.S. public health infrastructure. He has touted emergency funding for hospitals and equipment included in the $2 trillion package signed into law last week. 

Republicans — who control the Senate — may not have an appetite for more historic federal action after passing the largest emergency spending measure in U.S. history last week. Spokespeople for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy did not immediately respond to requests to comment on Trump’s tweet. 

At least one Senate Republican cheered Trump’s call for infrastructure improvements — though he did not endorse spending $2 trillion. Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., called on Tuesday to pass an existing bipartisan Senate highway bill that is “ready to go.” 

The Environment and Public Works Committee, which the senator chairs, unanimously backed the $287 billion highway plan last year. 

The House and Senate are not expected to return to Washington before April 20. 

The calls for another relief package come as COVID-19 spreads across the country. The U.S. now has more than 164,000 cases of the disease, easily the most in the world, and at least 3,170 deaths have been linked to it, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. 

Business closures aimed to stop the pandemic’s spread led to a record 3.3 million people filing unemployment claims last week. The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis has estimated job losses from the crisis could reach a staggering 47 million. 

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Coronavirus ‘more dangerous’ than expected; NY cases jump 14% overnight to 75,795

Governor Andrew Cuomo Speaks at a press conference in New York, United States, on March 30, 2020. US Army Corps of Engineers completes a temporary field hospital at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center as the coronavirus continues to spread on March 30, 2020 in New York City.

John Lamparski | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Coronavirus cases in New York state jumped 14% overnight to 75,795 with 1,550 deaths across the state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday.

At a news conference, the governor also said his brother, Chris Cuomo, a CNN anchorman, has COVID-19 and is isolating himself.

“I’m tired of being behind this virus. We’ve been behind this virus from day one,” the governor said in Albany. “We underestimated this virus. It’s more powerful, it’s more dangerous than we expected.” 

The state’s new cases make New York the coronavirus epicenter of the world, surpassing China’s Hubei province which reported 67,801 confirmed cases since the virus emerged there in December.

Cuomo said 10,929 people have been hospitalized with the coronavirus, including 2,710 ICU patients. Almost 400 of those people were hospitalized overnight, he said.

“We’re all anxious, we’re all tired, we’re all fatigued. It’s been all bad news for a long time. Our whole lifestyle has been disrupted. Everybody wants to know one thing, when will it end. Nobody knows,” Cuomo said. “We’re dealing with a war we’ve never dealt with before. We need a totally different mindset and organizational transformation.”  

He said the outbreak in New York state may not peak for three weeks. 

“If our apex is 14 to 21 days … then [you] have to come down the other side of the mountain once you hit the apex,” he said. “So calibrate yourself and your expectations so you’re not disappointed every morning you get up.”

He urged people to remain vigilant, even if it means remaining isolated for long periods of time.

“‘Well, I’m bored.’ I know! I’m bored!” Cuomo said.

Cuomo also said he wants to move health workers from unfilled hospitals in the state into beleaguered hospitals in New York City.

On Monday, Cuomo issued a call on health-care workers across the United States to travel to New York to help the state battle the worst coronavirus outbreak in the nation. He said the outbreak in New York isn’t an anomaly and will hit every part of the United States. He said he would encourage out-of-area health providers in the city to go elsewhere once they get experience in the epicenter of the nation’s outbreak. 

Also Monday, the hospital ship USNS Comfort arrived in New York to help relieve the city’s hospitals. Cuomo said the ship will provide 1,000 hospital beds, and 1,200 personnel to New York for treating patients who don’t have COVID-19.

Cuomo reiterated Tuesday that COVID-19 patients need ventilators a lot longer than most other respiratory patients, arguing the state needs a lot more. “The longer people are in, they either get treated and leave or they get put on a ventilator,” he said. “The longer you’re on the ventilator, the less likelihood you’ll come off the ventilator.”

He said the state placed an order for 17,000 ventilators from China for $25,000 each, but it expects to get just 2,500 California, Illinois, the federal government and Italy also ordered the same ventilators. 

“It’s like being on eBay with 50 other states bidding on a ventilator. … How inefficient. And then FEMA gets involved and FEMA starts bidding. And now FEMA is bidding on top of the 50. So FEMA is driving up the price. What sense does this make?” Cuomo asked.

On Twitter, the governor’s 49-year-old brother said he is feeling well, and will continue to anchor his program “Cuomo Prime Time” from his basement.

At Tuesday’s news conference, the governor said: “You don’t really know Chris. You see Chris, he has his show at 9 o’clock on CNN but you just see one dimension. You see a person in his job and in his job he’s combative and he’s argumentative and he’s pushing people, but that’s his job. It’s really not who he is. He’s a really sweet, beautiful guy. He’s my best friend.”

Dow’s worst first quarter ever, S&P 500’s worst month since ’08

The market is wrapping up a brutal quarter as investors search for a bottom in the fastest bear market ever amid the coronavirus crisis. The Dow Jones Industrial Average is on track to post its worst first quarter in history, but the recent sharp rebound raises the question if the worst is behind us. Here’s what’s happening:

12:05 pm: Brutal first quarter for Asian and European markets

  • Japan’s Nikkei ends Q1 down 20.04% for its worst quarter since Q4 2008 when the Nikkei lost -21.32% and its worst Q1 since 1990 when the Nikkei lost 22.96%
  • Shanghai lost 9.83% for its worst quarter since Q4 2018 when Shanghai lost -11.61% and its worst Q1 since 2016 when Shanghai lost 15.12%
  • S Korea KOSPI lost 20.16% for its worst quarter since Q4 2008 when the KOSPI lost 22.35% and its worst Q1 ever
  • India SENSEX lost 28.57% for its worst quarter and Q1 ever
  • Euro STOXX 600 is down 23.1% for its worst quarter since Q3 2002 when the Euro STOXX 600 lost 23.34% BUT its worst Q1 ever (back through 1987)
  • German DAX closed down 25.01% QTD for its worst quarter since Q3 2011 when the DAX lost 25.41% BUT its worst Q1 ever
  • Italy’s FTSE MIB closed down 27.46% for Q1 for its worst QTR ever and worst Q1 ever
  • UK FTSE 100 lost 24.8% in Q1 for its worst quarter since Q4 1987 but is worst Q1 ever — Francolla

11:50 am: Markets at midday: Stocks turn around, Dow now up more than 100 points

Around midday, the major averages had erased their losses from earlier in the session as investors try to end a dismal quarter on a high note. The Dow is up more than 100 points, or 0.6%. The S&P 500 traded 0.5% higher while the Nasdaq advanced 0.9%. Still, the Dow was headed for its worst first-quarter performance ever. —Imbert

11:17 am: Job vacancies contract as coronavirus slowdown intensifies

Job opening, which at one point had outnumbered available workers by more than a million, are starting to contract as the coronavirus freezes economic activity. The number of available positions fell by nearly 9% over the past week, according to Glassdoor, with the drop particularly acute in consumer-related services and trade and transportation. Travel and tourism openings fell by 44.6% and arts and entertainment dropped 30% during the period. Two bright spots: Health care openings rose by 1% and salaries were up 3.1% in March from the same period a year ago. Still, half the employers surveyed said they either were freezing or reducing openings. – Cox

10:45 am: Goldman sees 15% jobless rate and 34% GDP decline, followed by the fastest recovery in history

Goldman Sachs has revised its view for how the coronavirus will impact the U.S. economy, seeing a sharper downturn than originally thought followed by an even bigger upturn. Among its expectations are that the unemployment will peak around 15% later this year, well above original expectations for 9%. Gross domestic product is forecast to fall 9% in the first quarter followed by a stunning 34% plunge in the second quarter that would be by far the worst period in post-World War II history. –– Cox

10:32 am: Analysts are still finding stocks to buy like Wendy’s and HP on hopes the market has bottomed

  • Wedbush upgraded Wendy’s to outperform from neutral.
  • Wells Fargo upgraded Dollar General to overweight from equal weight.
  • Argus upgraded HP to buy from hold.
  • Barclays upgraded Sanderson Farms to overweight from equal weight.
  • Berenberg upgraded Box to buy from hold.
  • Gordon Haskett upgraded Cheesecake Factory to buy from hold.
  • Atlantic Equities downgraded Honeywell to neutral from overweight.
  • Berenberg downgraded Teladoc Health to hold from buy. — Bloom

10:22 am: Stocks turn positive

The three major indexes all pushed into the green as White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed some mild confidence that the U.S. efforts to combat the coronavirus were working and consumer confidence topped expectations. Fauci told CNN in an interview that he could see “glimmers” that social distancing was having the desired effect in the country and that he thought the U.S. would be well prepared to deal with a possible second wave of the virus in the fall. — Pound

10:01 am: Chicago PMI tops expectations

The Chicago PMI came in at 47.8 for March, well above the 40.0 projected by economists, according to Dow Jones. The reading still signaled a contraction in business activity because it was below 50. The Chicago PMI in February was 49. — Pound

9:31 am: Dow opens 100 points lower

The Dow fell about 100 points at the open as the 30-stock average headed for its worst quarter since 1987 and its worst first quarter ever. Losses in UnitedHealth and JPMorgan shares weighed on the blue-chip benchmark. The S&P 500 is down 0.6%, on track for its worst quarter since 2008 and its worst first quarter since 1938. The Nasdaq Composite dipped 0.5% at the open. — Li

9:01 am: ‘It’s time in the market, not timing the market’

Bank of America Vice Chairman Keith Banks warned investors Tuesday against getting clever and trying to time the stock market. “The reality is, it’s time in the market, not timing the market” that proves most lucrative over the long term, he said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” Banks, also head of BofA’s investment solutions group, said he’s advising clients to begin adding risk their portfolio and return to “a more normalized level of equity exposure.” —Stankiewicz

8:51 am: Goldman’s list of stocks for ‘income-oriented’ investors as dividends come under pressure

Goldman Sachs expects the S&P 500 dividend payout to drop 25% this year as the coronavirus pandemic wreaks havoc on corporate profits. Still, the bank managed to identify 40 stocks offering high dividend yields and security of payouts for “income-oriented” investors. “With 10-year US Treasury yields at 0.8%, income-seeking investors should consider stocks with both high dividend yields and the capacity to maintain the distributions,” said Cole Hunter, Goldman’s U.S. portfolio strategist. Goldman’s list of stocks with safe dividends include media company Omnicom, which pays a 5% dividend yield, and IBM, which offers a 6% yield.—Li

8:45 am: Fed extends repo program to other central banks

The Federal Reserve has opened its short-term lending program with commercial banks to other central banks around the world. In an announcement Tuesday morning, the Fed said it was extending its repo program, which provides cash infusions in exchange for high-quality collateral, to central banks and other international authorities with accounts at the New York Fed. The program is expected to last six months. The cash that participants receive can be spread to institutions within those regions that then can be loaned out to individuals and businesses. “This facility should help support the smooth functioning of the U.S. Treasury market by providing an alternative temporary source of U.S. dollars other than sales of securities in the open market,” the Fed said in a release. The coronavirus crisis has generated huge global demand for dollar-denominated assets that the Fed also has facilitated through dollar swaps with other central banks around the world. –Cox

8:21 am: Payment volume falls in March for U.S. and cross-border, Visa says

Shares of Visa moved slightly lower on Tuesday morning after the company released updated information for its first and second quarters. U.S. payments volume was down 4% for the first four weeks of March, compared with last year, but the volume for the first quarter was still up 9%. Cross-border volume has taken a much bigger hit during the coronavirus crisis, down 19% in March. The payments company said it expects net revenue to grow in the mid-single digits in the second quarter. The stock has held up better than the broader market during 2020, down just 11% for the year. —Pound

8:12 am: Domino’s Pizza withdraws 2020 guidance

Shares of the pizza chain Domino’s sunk more than 7% in premarket trading on Tuesday after the company withdrew its 2020 financial guidance. “Due to the current uncertainty surrounding the global economy and the Company’s business operations considering COVID-19, the Company is withdrawing its fiscal 2020 guidance measures related to general and administrative expenses, capital expenditures, store food basket pricing and the impact of foreign currency on royalty revenues,” the company said. Domino’s has kept many U.S. locations open during the pandemic but many international stores remain closed. —Fitzgerald

8:04 am: Coronavirus update: Global cases exceed 800,000

The coronavirus continues to spread across the globe, with cases worldwide topping 800,000, according to Johns Hopkins. Global deaths reached more than 38,000. Infections in the U.S. amount to more than 164,000 and deaths in America rose about 3,000. Spain’s death toll reached 8,189, up from 7,340 the day before, the country’s health ministry said. Iran’s death toll from coronavirus has reached 2,898, with 141 deaths in the past 24 hours, the country’s health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur told state TV, Reuters reported. —Fitzgerald

7:45 am: Oil jumps after falling to lowest level in nearly two decades

Oil prices jumped on Tuesday, one day after dropping to the lowest level since 2002. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude gained 7.8%, or $1.57, to trade at $21.66 per barrel, while international benchmark Brent crude rose 4.22% to $23.72 per barrel. WTI is on track for its worst month ever after falling 55%, as crude continues to get hit on both the demand and supply side. The coronavirus outbreak, which has halted travel and slowed business activity, has weighed on demand, while a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia means the market could soon be flooded with excess oil. The OPEC+ production cuts currently in place expire today, and Saudi Arabia is among the nations that has said it will ramp up production. Amid oil’s decline, on Monday U.S. President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin held a phone call in which they agreed to have top officials from both countries discuss slumping prices, according to a report from Reuters. —Stevens

7:40 am: Futures are flat as Dow wraps up worst first quarter in its history

U.S. stock futures rested along the flatline on Tuesday as Wall Street took a breather following strong gains in the previous session. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were down 24 points, or 0.1%. S&P 500 futures were also down slightly while Nasdaq 100 futures traded marginally higher. The major stock averages rallied more than 3% each on Monday amid optimism around extended social distancing guidelines in the U.S. and Johnson & Johnson identifying a vaccine candidate for the coronavirus. Despite the recent comeback, the market is on pace to end the month and quarter with big losses:

  • The Dow is down 12% in March, on pace for its worst month since October 2008.
  • The S&P 500 is down 11% in March, also on pace for its worst month since 2008.
  • The Dow is down 21.8% this quarter, on track for its worst quarter since 1987 and its worst first quarter ever.
  • The S&P 500 is off 18.7% this quarter, on track for its worst quarter since 2008 and its worst first quarter since 1938. —Imbert

—CNBC’s Gina Francolla, Michael Bloom, Kevin Stankiewicz, Jesse Pound, Jeff Cox and Yun Li contributed reporting.

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Wheels Up, Russell Wilson team to help hungry

With fears that food insecurity could spike as layoffs mount around the U.S. due to the coronavirus, private aviation company Wheels Up and NFL star quarterback Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks have teamed up for a 10-million meal donation to hunger relief organization Feeding America. The private jet company, which lists many celebrities and athletes among its client base, is now reaching out to more about joining the effort.

The idea started with Wilson and his wife, singer and songwriter Ciara.

“We started doing our research, Ciara and I, and we found out that Feeding America is such a great program. Forty years of doing good in the world and trying to make a difference.” Wilson, a Wheels Up member, said on CNBC’s Squawk Box on Tuesday morning. He and his wife have already donated 1 million meals to Feeding America.

The couple’s philanthropy inspired Kenny Dichter, Wheels Up founder and CEO, to mobilize his own network and resources in an effort to help struggling Americans during the coronavirus pandemic.

“There are 37 million Americans that are food insecure on a regular day,” Dichter said.

“The worry is that this may double,” Wilson said.

Nonprofit Feeding America serves about 40 million people facing hunger in all 50 states and Puerto Rico per year, including 11 million children and 7 million seniors. The 40-year-old organization works with food banks and pantries across the country to address food insecurity.

According to Feeding America, 92% of food banks reported seeing an increase in demand for food assistance between March 19 and March 23, and 64% of food banks reported a decline in food donations and volunteers during the same survey period. Food Lifeline, a member of Feeding America, typically sees 500 volunteers per week. Due to coronavirus concerns, it has suspended all volunteer group activity.

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Through Feeding America, a $1 donation helps provide 10 meals. Over 98% of money donated goes directly to those in need.

“It really makes a difference,” Wilson said on Squawk Box. “Each dollar is roughly 12 pounds of food.”

Residents receive free food at mobile food pantry near the U.S.-Mexico border on September 26, 2016 in Jacamba Hot Springs, California. The Feeding America truck delivers to the border town’s needy residents twice a month.

Getty Images

“We’re in a John F. Kennedy moment,” Dichter said on CNBC. So far, the Wheels Up CEO has spoken to Houston Texans’ star JJ Watt, Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez, and Tom Brady and Gisele Bündchen, about contributing to Meals Up, alongside the rest of Wheels Up’s star-studded membership.

“Every CEO, every entrepreneur, every company out there, anybody in the trading business or the hedge fund business, this is really a call to action,” Dichter said.

Dichter said during the Squawk Box interview that his aviation firm is also ready to help New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, who this past week urged healthcare workers to come to his state as Covid-19 cases overrun its hospitals and workers. “Wheels Up, the fleet, will fly medics to where they need to be if they volunteer. Governor Cuomo, reach out to us. We want to help,” Dichter said.

As part of the private aviation industry, Wheels Up stands to receive aid from the federal government as part of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package passed into law last week. Fuel taxes and federal excise taxes are waived for private-jet companies through the end of the year. The companies are also eligible for the loans, loan guarantees, and grant payments for continued wages available to the rest of the aviation industry.

The National Business Aviation Association, which represents private-jet companies and corporate jets, advocated its industry’s inclusion in federal relief for civil aviation in letters to government officials written alongside other industry leaders. The letters sent ahead of the House vote highlighted charter operations’ value, stating that those operators “conduct almost all air ambulance flights and are a critical part of the network to deliver organs for transplant,” in addition to servicing passengers.

Wilson is currently in his off season, while every other professional sport in the U.S. is paused or delayed. “I love playing the game, and as soon as I can get back out there and play in a safe way, that will be great. But the reality is, we’re in a global pandemic,” Wilson said. “The best thing that we can do is just love and give and serve, and if we can do that … I think we’ll be back out there.”

For more on the hunger crisis relief efforts amid the coronavirus, tune into Tuesday’s episode of Squawk Pod.

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Spirit cancels New York flights, Spain’s death toll surge

This is CNBC’s live blog covering all the latest news on the coronavirus outbreak. All times below are in Eastern time. This blog will be updated throughout the day as the news breaks. 

  • Global cases: More than 800,000
  • Global deaths: At least 38,714
  • US cases: At least 164,610
  • US deaths: At least 3,170

The data above was compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

9:49 am: Belarus’ president dismisses coronavirus risk, encourages citizens to drink vodka and visit saunas

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko talks during a Russian-Belarusian talks on February 15, 2019 in Sochi, Russia.

Mikhail Svetlov | Getty Images

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko has refused to implement a lockdown in the country of roughly 9.5 million people, reportedly suggesting that others have done so as an act of “frenzy and psychosis,” according to Sky News. The president of Belarus has urged citizens to drink vodka, go to saunas and return to work. In Belarus — a country that borders Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Ukraine — 152 people have contracted COVID-19 infections, with no deaths. —Sam Meredith 

9:42 am: Airlines receiving coronavirus aid will be allowed to consolidate routes into fewer airports 

The U.S. Department of Transportation will allow airlines that receive coronavirus aid to consolidate certain routes, giving carriers some breathing room in requirements for the relief.

Congress last week approved $50 billion in aid for U.S. airlines, part of the $2 trillion coronavirus relief package. Half of the aid is available in grants that wouldn’t have to be paid back, a victory for the airline industry that lobbied against an all-loans package. The grants are dedicated to maintaining payroll and airlines who accept them have to commit not to furlough workers through Sept. 30. —Leslie Josephs 

9:35 am: Stocks fall as the Dow wraps up its worst first quarter ever

Stocks fell on Tuesday, the last day of the first quarter, as investors wrapped up a period of historic market volatility sparked by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average traded 88 points lower, or 0.4%. The S&P 500 slid 0.4% along with the Nasdaq Composite.

Tuesday’s losses gave back some of the sharp gains from the previous session. The Dow jumped nearly 700 points on Monday led by an 8% pop in Johnson & Johnson after it announced a vaccine candidate for the coronavirus. The S&P 500 rallied 3.4%. —Fred Imbert, Yun Li

9:32 am: Travelers through TSA checkpoints dropped to 154,080 Monday from 2.3 million last year

The Transportation Security Administration said 154,080 passengers went through a TSA checkpoint yesterday, a sharp drop from 2.3 million travelers on the same day a year earlier and down from 180,002 on Sunday. —Melodie Warner

9:28 am: Wimbledon tennis tournament to be canceled, reports say

England’s Wimbledon tennis tournament is likely to be canceled as event organizers hold an emergency board meeting Wednesday, according to a report from the Financial Times. The Grand Slam tournament was set to start June 29. Major sporting events have been canceled or rescheduled around the world, including the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, which was postponed March 24. —Hannah Miller

9:19 am: Energy drink sales fell 5% last week as stay-at-home orders discourage convenience store visits

Energy drink sales fell 5% in the week ended March 22, according to a note from Stifel analyst Mark Astrachan. Three quarters of Americans are under some kind of stay-at-home order, discouraging them from visiting convenience stores, which account for about 70% of energy drink sales. Monster Beverage’s sales were flat in the same time period. Coca-Cola Energy’s sales have declined 21% sequentially, and performance energy drink Bang has seen its sales fall 5% over the last two weeks ended March 22. —Amelia Lucas

9:06 am: CDC may recommend people cover their faces in public

Officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are considering changing its official guidance to encourage people to cover their faces in public amid the coronavirus pandemic, the Washington Post reported, citing a federal official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. The official said the new guidance would make clear that the general public should use do-it-yourself cloth coverings and not medical masks, which are in short supply and needed by health-care workers. —Washington Post 

8:27 am: Stock futures fall more than 1% as the Dow heads for its worst first quarter ever

Stock futures dropped in choppy morning trading, as the market tries to make back some of the deep losses triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

At 8:22 a.m. ET, futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average were 287 points lower, or 1.3%. S&P 500 futures traded 1.4% lower while Nasdaq-100 futures slid 1.1%. —Fred Imbert, Yun Li

8:01 am: US continues rapid rise in cases

7:49 am: Walmart will start taking employees’ temperatures before shifts

Walmart said it will soon start taking temperatures and doing basic health screenings of employees to detect workers who may be sick with COVID-19.

The retailer also said it’s ordering masks for employees and will offer masks and gloves for them to wear, if they choose. 

In a post on Walmart’s website, John Furner, president and CEO of Walmart U.S., and Kath McLay, president and CEO of Sam’s Club, said the additional steps are new ways the retailer is trying to keep employees safe during the coronavirus pandemic. —Melissa Repko

7:47 am: Ford postpones reopening ‘key’ plants

Less than a week after Ford Motor said it would restart production at “key” plants in North America beginning in early-April, the company has postponed those plans as the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the U.S. 

Ford said it is delaying the restart of a car plant in Mexico as well as four truck, SUV and van plants in the U.S. ” to help protect its workers.” The company declined to provide a new timeline for reopening the plants.

“The health and safety of our workforce, dealers, customers, partners and communities remains our highest priority,” said Kumar Galhotra, Ford president of North America, in a press release. “We are working very closely with union leaders – especially at the UAW – to develop additional health and safety procedures aimed at helping keep our workforce safe and healthy.” —Michael Wayland

7:33 am: EU executive warns emergency laws cannot flout democracy

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, delivers a speech during a special address on day two of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, on Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2020.


The European Union’s executive warned member states that emergency measures adopted by governments to fight the coronavirus crisis cannot undercut democracy.

“It is of utmost importance that emergency measures are not at the expense of our fundamental principles and values … Democracy cannot work without free and independent media,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement. “Any emergency measures must be limited to what is necessary and strictly proportionate. They must not last indefinitely … governments must make sure that such measures are subject to regular scrutiny,” she added after Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban secured the indefinite right to rule by decree. —Reuters

6:59 am: Spirit cancels New York area flights after CDC warning

Low-cost U.S. carrier Spirit Airlines said it will cancel all flights to and from New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey after U.S. officials warned against travel to the area because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Spirit, which appeared to be the first major U.S. carrier to cancel all flights to the so-called tri-state region, said it was responding to this weekend’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory warning against all non-essential travel to and from the area.Spirit said it will suspend service to the airports it serves in the region, New York LaGuardia, Newark, Hartford, Niagara Falls, and Plattsburgh, through at least May 4. —Reuters

6:23 am: Spain’s daily death toll hits 849, highest level since since epidemic started 

A man wearing a face mask is wheeled into La Paz hospital on March 23, 2020 in Madrid, Spain.

Denis Doyle | Getty Images

Spain’s death toll reached 8,189, up from 7,340 the day before, the country’s health ministry said.

The 849 deaths in 24 hours is the highest daily death toll since the epidemic started in Spain, Reuters noted. The total number of coronavirus infections rose to 94,417, up from 85,195 on Monday. —Holly Ellyatt

5:51 am: Iran’s death toll from coronavirus climbs to 2,898, health official says

Iran’s death toll from coronavirus has reached 2,898, with 141 deaths in the past 24 hours, the country’s health ministry spokesman Kianush Jahanpur told state TV, Reuters reported.  The total number of infected cases has jumped to 44,606.

“In the past 24 hours, there have been 3,111 new cases of infected people. Unfortunately, 3,703 of the infected people are in a critical condition,” Jahanpur said. —Holly Ellyatt

4:43 am: China to start reporting asymptomatic cases from April 1

An official from China’s National Health Commission has said that the country is to start testing asymptomatic cases starting tomorrow, Reuters reported.  It has 1,541 asymptomatic coronavirus patients under observation as of end of March 30.

The commission said 205 of the patients under observation are from overseas. —Holly Ellyatt

4:17 am: Germany’s RKI optimistic about flattening of coronavirus infection curve

The head of Germany’s Robert Koch Institute (RKI) for infectious diseases said his optimism about the flattening of the coronavirus infection curve was justified, adding that this would be clearer after Easter, Reuters reported.

However, Lothar Wieler, president of the Robert Koch Institute, told a news conference that the current mortality rate of 0.8% in Germany would rise further. —Reuters

4:10 am: European markets climb as sentiment buoyed by China data

European markets advanced, following a positive lead set in Asia after Chinese manufacturing data rebounded in March, despite the coronavirus pandemic. The pan-European Stoxx 600 climbed 1.7% in early trade, with travel and leisure stocks jumping 4.7% to lead gains as all sectors and major bourses entered positive territory.

European stocks reacted positively to data showing that China’s official manufacturing Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) for March came in better than some analysts expected. —Holly Ellyatt and Elliot Smith

Read CNBC’s coverage from CNBC’s Asia-Pacific and Europe teams overnight here: China to test asymptomatic cases; Iran’s new infections jump by 3,000

Domino’s stock falls after pizza chain’s same-store sales disappoint

Javanshir Hajizada gets ready for a bicycle delivery for Domino’s Pizza, which is hiring drivers, on March 25, 2020 in Boston.

David L. Ryan | Boston Globe | Getty Images

Shares of Domino’s Pizza fell 7% in premarket trading Tuesday after the pizza chain’s estimates for its first-quarter same-store sales disappointed investors.

The stock, which has a market value of $12.7 billion, is up 9% so far in 2020. Analysts predicted that the pizza chain’s delivery-based business would fare better than other restaurants’ as the country grapples with the coronavirus pandemic.

U.S. same-store sales rose 1% from Feb. 24 to March 22. Domino’s said on Monday that a number of factors impacted its U.S. business, including school closures, cancellations of live sports and U.S. consumers stocking up at the grocery store.

In the same period, international same-store sales fell 0.2%.

Based on these trends, the company estimates U.S. same-store sales growth of 1.6% and international same-store sales growth of 1.5% during the first quarter. Meanwhile, global retail sales are expected to have risen by 4.4% during the same period.

CEO Ritch Allison said in a statement that “all but a handful” of Domino’s U.S. locations are open. Fourteen of its international markets have closed, and 23 international markets have partially closed locations. About 1,400 international restaurants have temporarily closed.

Domino’s also withdrew its 2020 outlook related to general and administrative expenses, capital expenditures, food costs and foreign currency. 

Citing the market uncertainty, Domino’s has borrowed the rest of the $158 under outstanding variable funding notes to improve its cash position. The pizza chain has more than $300 million of cash on hand.