Pres. Trump to hold press conference on coronavirus vaccine shortly

Expected press conference at 12 PM noon ET

Pres. Trump is expected to hold a noon press conference on the coronavirus vaccine shortly. The US secretary of health Azar said today that he would expect 1 or more coronavirus vaccines by the end of the year. It’s hard not to see Pres. Trump not be more positive about the timetable given his propensity to be overly optimistic.
As a benchmark, the Dow is currently trading down 188 points. The S&P index is down -22.2 points and the NASDAQ index is down -73 points.
To watch the live press conference click on the link below.

Global Times editor: China may respond by investigating Apple, suspending Boeing airplane purchases

A tweet by Global Times editor-in-chief, Hu Xijin

“Based on what I know, if the US further blocks key technology supply to Huawei, China will activate the “unreliable entity list”, restrict or investigate US companies such as Qualcomm, Cisco and Apple, and suspend the purchase of Boeing airplanes.”

It looks like the tit-for-tat retaliatory action is back in the playbook for US-China tensions. This is certainly not a positive headline for risk, even if it isn’t an official confirmation by China but the message is loud and clear i.e. they will be looking to respond.

US futures are extending losses on the back of the headlines here as tensions ramp up.

Italy to allow free movement within the country from 3 June – report

Bloomberg reports, citing a draft decree by the Italian government

The report says that Italy will allow citizens to move freely between regions starting from 3 June as the government opens up the country following more than two months of lockdown.

Adding that retail stores and other businesses will reopen on 18 May, with citizens also being allowed full free movement within their home regions starting that day as well.

The caveat though is that the new lifting of restrictions will be contingent on new outbreaks in specific areas, according to the draft decree.
But in any case, that is good news as it could spur back some consumer demand in the country following two months of constrained movement across local regions.

German stats office says that Q2 forecasts are for around -10% decline in GDP

Some comments by the German statistics office

  • How Q2 turns out depends in part of the easing of restrictions

Most institutes are pinning the economic contraction in Germany to be somewhere between 10% to 12% in Q2, but either way we all know that it is going to be record-breaking bad considering the lockdown measures and impact of the virus outbreak in the region.

The focus now is whether or not all of the recent progress can translate into a better economic performance in Q3 and Q4. Any real risks of a secondary virus outbreak will throw a real spanner in the works and lead to more concerns about the projected recovery.

Fiscal deficit feared to rise to 7.9%

With the government’s Rs 20 lakh crore stimulus package, the country’s fiscal deficit is likely to be more than double to 7.9 per cent in the current financial year, according to an SBI research report.

The report had earlier estimated the fiscal deficit to be 3.5 per cent of GDP this fiscal.

The government has announced a cumulative package of Rs 20 lakh crore, which is nearly 10 per cent of GDP to provide relief to various segments of the coronavirus-hit economy.

“After taking into account cash outflow of these measures as well as the previous and the recent excise duty hike and DA freeze (amounting to 0.8 per cent of GDP), we now revise our baseline fiscal deficit (excluding extra budgetary resources (EBR)) to 7.9 per cent of the revised GDP in FY21 from 3.5 per cent earlier, owing to lower revenues and higher expenditure against the backdrop of Covid-19 pandemic,” the report said.

US FDA alerts on early data suggesting potential inaccurate coronavirus test

U.S. Food and Drug Administration is alerting on early data that suggests potential inaccurate results from using the Abbott ID NOW point-of-care test to diagnose COVID-19.

Specifically, the test may return false negative results.
“This test can still be used and can correctly identify many positive cases in minutes. Negative results may need to be confirmed with a high-sensitivity authorized molecular test” 
This is the test used for the folks in the White House (and elsewhere of course).

US Major indices close at session highs

Dow leads the way

It was an up and down day with lots of of volatility. At the end of the day, the major indices are closing higher and at session highs.  The biggest gainer was the Dow industrial average rose by 1.62%. The index had a volatile range of over 700 points. It is ending up 377 points at the close.
The final numbers are showing:
  • The S&P index +32.5 points or 1.15% at 2852.50. The low saw the index down as much as -1.89%
  • The NASDAQ index by 80.556 points or 0.91% at the 943.72. The low saw the index down as much as -1.78%
  • The Dow industrial average gained 377.37 points or 1.62% at 23625.34. At the low the Dow industrial average was down -1.97%
Major indices and moved higher in the US
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