Coronavirus, Federal Reserve, Pete Buttigieg, Twitter, Egg McMuffin - 5 Things You Must Know Monday

Stock futures turn sharply lower as investors seek central bank support amid the coronavirus-related market meltdown; Pete Buttigieg ends his presidential campaign; Elliott Management seeks to replace Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.
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Here are five things you must know for Monday, March 2:

1. -- Stock Futures Slide as Wall Street Bets on a Fed Rate Cut

Stock futures turned sharply lower Monday as investors looked to central bank support amid the $6 trillion global market meltdown and a sharply slowing world economy caused largely by the spreading coronavirus outbreak.

Contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 340 points, S&P 500 futures dropped 44.60 points and Nasdaq futures declined 85.50 points.

Manufacturing in China, the world's second-largest economy, tumbled to record lows according to data released over the weekend as businesses remained closed and workers were encouraged to stay home as coronavirus infections surged.

With factories in Asia sputtering because of supply chain disruptions, the Bank of Japan issued a statement saying it “will closely monitor future developments, and will strive to provide ample liquidity and ensure stability in financial markets through appropriate market operations and asset purchases.”

The statement followed similar comments on Friday from Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell, who pledged that the central bank would "act as appropriate" given that "the coronavirus poses evolving risks to economic activity."

"The Federal Reserve is closely monitoring developments and their implications for the economic outlook," a statement added. "We will use our tools and act as appropriate to support the economy."

Goldman Sachs analysts said the comments could signal a rate cut of 50 basis points from the Fed, even before its March 17-18 meeting, while economists at the bank warned "recession risk is real, even if it is not our base case scenario" as U.S. cases of the virus rise to 75 and officials confirm at least two people - both in Washington state - have died.

Stocks fell for a seventh consecutive day on Friday and the S&P 500 suffered its work week since the 2008 financial crisis, falling 11.5%. The Dow sank 12.4% as investors braced for a potential coronavirus pandemic and the pain it could inflict on global economic growth. The Nasdaq dived 10.5%.

2. -- Pete Buttigieg Ends Presidential Campaign

Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg has called it quits, formally suspending his White House bid on Sunday evening.

Buttigieg - the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana’s fourth largest city - barely topped U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders in the chaotic Iowa caucus and had a strong showing in New Hampshire. His campaign appeared to gain traction quickly, and he indicated he was hoping to raise $13 million before Super Tuesday.

But things had turned by Nevada, where he finished third, and Buttigieg had a weak showing in South Carolina’s Democratic primary.

An openly gay military veteran, Buttigieg said Sunday, “By every historical measure, we were never supposed to get anywhere at all.” 

Supporters interrupted his speech with chants of “2024.”

3. -- U.S. Manufacturing Data and Tilray Earnings Highlight Monday's Calendar

The economic calendar in the U.S. on Monday includes Markit Manufacturing PMI for February at 9:45 a.m. ET, the ISM Manufacturing Index for February at 10 a.m. and Construction Spending for January at 10 a.m.

Earnings reports are expected Monday from Tilray  (TLRY) - Get Report, JD.com  (JD) - Get Report, Maxar Technologies  (MAXR) - Get Report and Boingo Wireless  (WIFI) - Get Report.

Later in the week will see reports from Target  (TGT) - Get Report, Kohl's  (KSS) - Get Report, Nordstrom  (JWN) - Get Report, Costco  (COST) - Get Report, Kroger  (KR) - Get Report, Hewlett Packard Enterprise  (HPE) - Get Report, Dollar Tree  (DLTR) - Get Report, Splunk  (SPLK) - Get Report and Ciena  (CIEN) - Get Report.

4. -- Elliott Management Looks to Replace Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey

Activist hedge fund Elliott Management has nominated four directors to the board at Twitter  (TWTR) - Get Report and is seeking to replace Jack Dorsey, CEO of the social media company.

The stock was rising 7.83% to $35.80 in premarket trading on Monday after reports said Elliott has taken a roughly $1 billion stake in Twitter and has been in talks with management about its desire for the company to find a full-time CEO. Dorsey also runs payments company Square  (SQ) - Get Report.

Elliott approached San Francisco-based Twitter about its concerns privately and has had constructive discussions with it since then, people familiar with the matter told Bloomberg.

Since Dorsey is one of the only people to serve as CEO of two large public companies at the same time, he has been a frequent target of criticism, Bloomberg noted.

He took flak when he said via a tweet back in November that he planned to live in Africa for three to six months this year. The announcement surprised executives at Twitter and angered investors frustrated with the company’s performance under the part-time CEO, according to The Wall Street Journal.

5. -- McDonald's Is Giving Away Free Egg McMuffins

McDonald's  (MCD) - Get Report is giving away free Egg McMuffins on Monday, the same day as  Wendy's  (WEN) - Get Report launches its breakfast menu nationwide.

Free sandwiches are available in U.S. restaurants from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. local time. The sandwiches only can be ordered through McDonald's app.

McDonald's has declared March 2 as "National Egg McMuffin Day."

Wendy's chief marketing officer, Carol Loredo, told CNN Business that the McDonald's holiday "is the day that the Egg McMuffin and other old breakfasts are laid to rest. No longer will people have to suffer stale, tired, old sandwiches with folded eggs and microwaved bacon."