Joe Biden, Dow Futures, Coronavirus, Amazon, Nordstrom - 5 Things You Must Know Wednesday

Stock futures rise sharply but a surprise rate cut from the Federal Reserve does little to ease investors' concerns over the economic impact of the coronavirus outbreak; Joe Biden wins nine states in a strong Super Tuesday showing; an Amazon employee contracts coronavirus.
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Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, March 4:

1. -- Stock Futures Bump Higher as Wall Street Looks to Rebound

Stock futures rose sharply Wednesday, rebounding from the previous session's steep selloff, but a surprise rate cut from the Federal Reserve did little to ease investors' concerns over the evolving impact of the coronavirus outbreak on economic growth.

Equities were getting a boost from a strong showing in the Super Tuesday primaries by moderate Democratic candidate Joe Biden, who stole some of the momentum from Bernie Sanders, a fierce critic of Wall Street.

The Fed's between-meeting interest rate cut of 50 basis points, the central bank's first emergency move since the financial crisis in 2008, provided brief support for stocks but ultimately raised deeper concerns related to both the spread of the virus, which has now reached 60 countries and infected more than 93,000 people, and its impact on the global economy.

"We've come to the view now that it is time to act in support of the economy," Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Tuesday. “I do know that the U.S. economy is strong and we will get to the other side of this; I fully expect that we will return to solid growth and a solid labor market as well.”

The Fed's move on Tuesday also has investors anticipating follow-up action from other central banks, including the European Central Bank and the Bank of Japan, while Fed futures suggested investors also are looking for another rate cut from the central bank in June.

Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped 569 points, S&P 500 futures rose 58.40 points and Nasdaq futures were up 178 points.

The Dow tumbled 785 points, or 2.9%, on Tuesday, just a day after the blue-chip index jumped 5% on hopes for central bank support following last week's global market meltdown.

2. -- Joe Biden Wins 9 States on Super Tuesday

Joe Biden's campaign got a shot in the arm after the former vice president won nine states on Super Tuesday, including Texas, but his rival, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, took the biggest prize - delegate-rich California.

The race for the Democratic nominee for president appears to now be a two-person race, after Sen. Elizabeth Warren and media executive and former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg trailed far behind, and Warren lost her home state of Massachusetts to Biden.

Fourteen states and American Samoa held presidential primaries on Super Tuesday, the single biggest day of the 2020 race. There were 1,344 national delegates in play, more than a third of the total available in the 2020 Democratic race; some 1,991 delegate votes are needed for the nomination.

“Just a few days ago the press and the pundits had declared
the campaign dead,” Biden told supporters in Los Angeles. “I’m here to report, we are very much alive."

Sanders, at a rally across the country in Vermont, took a swipe at Biden, saying, "You cannot beat Trump with the same-old, same-old kind of politics."

3. -- ADP Jobs Report, Marvell and Campbell Soup Earnings on Wednesday's Calendar

The economic calendar in the U.S. Wednesday includes the ADP National Employment Report for February at 8:15 a.m. ET, the PMI Services Index for February at 9:45 a.m. and the ISM Non-Manufacturing Index for February at 10 a.m.

Earnings reports are expected Wednesday from Marvell Technology  (MRVL) - Get Report, Abercrombie & Fitch  (ANF) - Get Report, Campbell Soup  (CPB) - Get Report, Dollar Tree  (DLTR) - Get Report, Splunk  (SPLK) - Get Report and American Eagle Outfitters  (AEO) - Get Report.

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4. -- Nordstrom Tumbles on Earnings Miss, Disappointing Forecast

Nordstrom  (JWN) - Get Report declined 9.39% to $30.30 in premarket trading Wednesday after the Seattle high-end retailer reported fourth-quarter earnings and sales that missed expectations, forecast disappointing fiscal-year earnings, and named Erik Nordstrom as its sole CEO.

Erik's brother Pete Nordstrom was named president and chief brand officer. Both Nordstroms will remain on the board.

The company also said it expects net sales in its current fiscal year to rise 1.5% and 2.5% with earnings of $3.25 to $3.50 a share. Analysts were expecting earnings of $3.49 a share.

The guidance, Nordstrom said, doesn't include any potential impacts from the coronavirus outbreak.

"We're monitoring this fluid situation closely, with the well-being of our customers and employees as the top priority," Erik Nordstrom told investors on a conference call. "We have a team focused on monitoring, planning for and responding to any potential impacts the virus may cause to our business. We're assessing potential implications for both traffic and supply chain." 

5. -- Amazon Says Employee in Seattle Has Coronavirus

Amazon.com  (AMZN) - Get Report confirmed late Tuesday that an employee in Seattle tested positive for Covid-19, which is caused by the coronavirus.

The online retailing giant told its workforce about the infected employee via email, according to Bloomberg.

All co-workers in contact with the employee, who were at Amazon’s South Lake Union office complex in Seattle, have been notified, the company said.

Amazon has been limiting employee travel in the U.S. and has canceled warehouse tours. The company has started conducting some job interviews virtually rather than face-to-face, Bloomberg noted.