Coronavirus, Joe Biden and Tesla - 5 Things You Must Know Wednesday

Stock futures fall as the Trump administration's plan to fight the coronavirus outbreak lacks specifics; Joe Biden's win in the Michigan primary and victories in three other states widens his delegate lead over Bernie Sanders; coronavirus cases in the U.S. rise past 1,000.
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Here are five things you must know for Wednesday, March 11:

1. -- Stock Futures Fall After Tuesday's Rebound

Stock futures were falling Wednesday, despite solid gains in Europe after a surprise interest rate cut from the Bank of England, as a lack of specifics from the Trump administration on plans to fight the coronavirus outbreak and the resulting economic fallout punctured the solid sentiment gained from Tuesday's rally.

Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined 577 points, S&P 500 futures were down 72 points and Nasdaq futures slumped 188 points.

“We were promised something substantive from the Trump administration, and if it hasn’t come yet at this hour, then it looks like it is being delayed,” said Michael McCarthy, chief market strategist at CMC Markets in Sydney.

“That’s why markets have a negative tone. From a global investor’s perspective, there are still a lot of downside risks.”

President Donald Trump said Monday he would ask Congress for a payroll tax cut and that his administration would be making "major" economic announcements to stem the coronavirus Covid-19 outbreak and the increasing volatility in the financial markets.

Trump did say Tuesday the government was working with the cruise line industry but little else of what he said impressed Wall Street.

Equities on Tuesday clawed back a good portion of their losses from Monday's Wall Street rout. The S&P 500 gained 4.9%, erasing a good chunk of the 7.6% drop - the sharpest decline since 2008 - on Monday.

The Dow on Tuesday gained 1,167 points, or 4.89%, to close 25,018.

2. -- Joe Biden Widens Lead Over Bernie Sanders

Joe Biden won Michigan’s Democratic presidential primary on Tuesday, and also had victories in Missouri, Mississippi and Idaho, as the former vice president widened his lead over Bernie Sanders.

Biden asked supporters of Sanders, the senator from Vermont, for their support in a speech in Philadelphia.

““We need you, we want you, and there’s a place in our campaign for each of you. I want to thank Bernie Sanders and his supporters for their tireless energy and their passion,” Biden said. “Together we’ll defeat Donald Trump.”

The state of Washington’s primary on Tuesday was too early to call, and North Dakota's results were incomplete.

The incomplete count from Tuesday had Biden with 817 delegates to Sanders 658. Sanders would have to win more than 57% of the remaining delegates to catch up to Biden, according to Bloomberg, and it will be a difficult task since the primary calendar favors Biden over the next six weeks.

Primaries next week will be conducted in Florida, Ohio, Illinois and Arizona. 

3. -- Coronavirus - The Latest

The number of confirmed global cases of the coronavirus has risen to 119,132, according to the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering, and deaths increased to 4,284.

The U.S. has 1,037 cases of the virus and deaths have climbed to 32.

Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders canceled rallies in Ohio scheduled for Tuesday night because of fears about the spreading coronavirus.

Biden also called off a scheduled upcoming Florida stop, but said he would be announcing plans to combat the coronavirus later this week, the Associated Press reported.

The Democratic National Committee also said that a debate Sunday between Sanders and Biden would be conducted without an audience.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday ordered schools, temples, churches and other public gathering places to close in a large part of New Rochelle to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Cuomo described New Rochelle as a "significant hot spot" for the disease and said the National Guard has been called in to help clean facilities and deliver food. 

The New York International Auto Show, which was set to begin April 8, was postponed to August because of coronavirus fears.

Alphabet's  (GOOGL) - Get Report Google advised all of its employees in North America to work remotely for the rest of March. 

“Contributing to social distancing if you are able to, helps the overall community spread and most importantly, will help offset the peak loads through critical healthcare systems and also saves it for people in need,” said Google CEO Sundar Pichai in a tweet onTuesday.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine advised spectators not to attend any indoor sporting events in the state. The recommendation extends to events at the high school, college and professional sports levels.

4. -- Consumer Price Index Highlights Wednesday's Calendar

The economic calendar in the U.S. Wednesday includes the Consumer Price Index for February at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists surveyed by FactSet expect consumer prices to be flat month to month, with the core rate, which excludes food and energy, rising 0.2%. The yearly rate is forecast at 2.2%, with core CPI annually up 2.3%. 

The calendar also includes Oil Inventories for the week ended March 6 at 10:30 a.m.

Earnings reports are expected Wednesday from United Natural Foods  (UNFI) - Get Report, Express  (EXPR) - Get Report, Novavax  (NVAX) - Get Report, Del Taco Restaurants  (TACO) - Get Report and Vera Bradley  (VRA) - Get Report.

5. -- Tesla Parts Ways With Manufacturing Director

Tesla has parted ways with Jatinder Dhillon, the electric vehicle company's director of manufacturing.

Dhillon recently left the carmaker after a seven-year tenure that culminated with his role as manufacturing director, CNBC reported. Dhillon, who led Model 3 manufacturing at Tesla's factory in Fremont, Calif., has been credited with ramping up production of the mass-market car.

Meanwhile, CEO Elon Musk said a decision on where Tesla will build a new U.S. assembly plant will be influenced by state incentives as well as access to a large workforce and low logistics costs.

In a tweet, Musk said, "Scouting locations for Cybertruck Gigafactory. Will be central USA."

He later told The Wall Street Journal that "incentives play a role, but so do logistics costs, access to a large workforce with a wide range of talents, and quality of life."