What Moved Global Markets
– Global cases cross 440,000
– Global deaths: At least 20,499
- Calling the coronavirus pandemic “Public Enemy No. 1,” World Health Organization officials warned that the final death toll of the outbreak depends on how governments and citizens respond to the spreading pandemic.
- The death toll from an outbreak of coronavirus in Italy has grown by 683 to 7,503, the Civil Protection Agency said, a decline in the daily tally of fatalities following a spike the day before. Spain’s coronavirus death toll jumped by 738 overnight to exceed that of China.
- The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose following a historic rally in the previous session in anticipation of a coronavirus stimulus deal by Congress. The Dow climbed more than 1,300 points in midday trading, or 6%. The S&P 500 was up by about 4.8%. The Nasdaq Composite advanced 3.1%. Boeing shares rallied 30% to lead the Dow higher. A 10.6% gain in Nike also boosted the Dow.
- Traders have been waiting for Thursday’s weekly jobless claims to see how bad the labor market has been hit by efforts to stop the spread of coronavirus. Economists’ forecasts range from about 1 million to 4 million, and they say next week’s report could also be record-setting. The biggest layoffs are expected to come from the restaurants and leisure industries, as well as retail. In the financial crisis, one week claims peaked at about 650,000.
- The U.S. has called on OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia to put a stop to its ongoing oil price war with non-OPEC leader Russia. In a statement released by the U.S. State Department Wednesday, a spokesperson confirmed that Secretary Mike Pompeo had spoken with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Tuesday. “Secretary Pompeo and the Crown Prince focused on the need to maintain stability in global energy markets amid the worldwide response,” the statement said.
What Moved Crypto Markets (i.e. digital assets)
- The world is facing a shortage of physical gold amid supply chain interruptions, investor flights to safety and major actions by the U.S. Federal Reserve to shore up the financial system. Per Bloomberg data, the premium of gold futures over the spot price of gold hit its highest level in decades. This development comes as desperate investors try to put their funds in the more liquid derivative as an alternative way to shield themselves from the turbulence reigning in global equity and commodity markets. Bitcoin’s price has shown the strongest correlation with gold in 10 months.
- New turn in Telegram’s case: U.S. Court supported the SEC and blocked Telegram from issuing its Gram tokens. The court said that since Telegram was planning to sell its tokens in the secondary markets, they shall be categorized as unregistered securities under the Howey Test.
Fintech: The Russian government may soon allow the creation of regulatory sandboxes for companies working on cutting-edge technologies like fintech, artificial intelligence and distributed ledgers. The Bank of Russia, the central bank, will be supervising the sandboxes related to fintech. Representatives of the Economic Development Ministry, which initiated the bill, told the Russian newspaper Izvestia that fintech projects operating within sandboxes would be subject to lighter regulation regarding cash reserves, financial reporting and foreign currency controls.
AI, Healthtech: Scientists have developed an artificial intelligence program that can screen people for lung cancer by analysing their blood for DNA mutations that drive the disease. The software is experimental and needs to be verified in a clinical trial, but doctors are hopeful that if it proves its worth at scale, it will boost lung cancer screening rates by making the procedure as simple as a routine blood test.
Smart cities: Homeless people are twice as likely to be hospitalized during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report from researchers at the University of Pennsylvania, University of California Los Angeles and Boston University. The vulnerable group is also up to four times as likely to need critical care and up to three times as likely to die compared to the general population. The report concludes that $11.5 billion is required to ensure people experiencing homelessness are protected during the pandemic.
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