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Market Pulse
28 Feb 2020 23:22

The chief executive of Harley-Davidson Inc. stepped down by mutual agreement with the company Friday afternoon, the motorcycle manufacturer announced, and shares rose 5% in late trading. Matthew Levatich relinquished his titles of president and CEO as well as his seat on the board, and board member Jochen Zeitz was named acting president and CEO of the company. Zeitz was also named chairman of the board, and will retain that title after a new CEO is named; Michael Cave, who had been acting as chairman, will take on the title of presiding director. "The board and Matt mutually agreed that now is the time for new leadership at Harley-Davidson," Zeitz said in Friday's announcement. "Matt was instrumental in defining the More Roads to Harley-Davidson accelerated plan for growth, and we will look to new leadership to recharge our business." Harley's revenue has declined year-over-year in the past five quarters in a row, and 11 of the past 14, as the company has struggled to appeal to younger customers. The stock has struggled, declining 17.9% in the past year as the S&P 500 index has gained 7%, but shot 5% higher in after-hours trading Friday following the announcement.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

28 Feb 2020 23:05

Chamath Palihapitiya, who used a previous blank-check initial public offering to place Virgin Galactic Holdings Inc. on the public markets, has filed for two more such funds that seek to raise $900 million in total. Filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday afternoon show an attempt to raise $300 million for Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. II and $600 million for Social Capital Hedosophia Holdings Corp. III. The first Social Capital Hedosophia blank-check IPO raised $600 million in 2017 and sat dormant for more than 20 months before announcing a deal with Virgin Galactic. The space-travel company began trading in October and has more than doubled in price since, closing Friday at $24.60 for a market capitalization of $4.8 billion.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

28 Feb 2020 21:08

U.S. stocks capped the week with another session of painful losses on Friday amid worries around the COVID-19 outbreak's potential to upend the global economy. Stocks trimmed Friday's losses by the closing bell with the Nasdaq turning positive. The S&P 500 was down 0.8% to end around 2,955. The Dow Jones Industrial Average retreated 358 points, or 1.4%, to finish near 25,409, based on preliminary numbers. The Nasdaq Composite was up less than 0.1% at 8,567. But for the week, the S&P 500 was down 11.5%, the Nasdaq fell 10.5%, and the Dow tumbled 12.4%. For the month, the S&P fell 8.4%, Dow fell 10%, and the Nasdaq dropped 6.4%. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell issued a statement saying the U.S. central bank would act as appropriate and monitor the coronavirus impact, an announcement that raised expectations for monetary easing later this year. The 10-year Treasury note yield set a record closing low of 1.127% on Friday.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

28 Feb 2020 19:56

U.S. stock markets Friday afternoon were trading sharply lower but of their ugliest levels after Fed Chairman Jerome Powell delivered an unexpected statement to help assuage worries about the central bank's response to a viral outbreak that originated in Wuhan, China last year. Powell said that the Fed will "act appropriately," and noted that COVID-19, the deadly infectious disease, poses an "evolving" risk. The Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 625 points, or 2.1%, at 25,159, the S&P 500 index declined 1.8% at 2,923, while the Nasdaq Composite Index was trading 1.2% lower at 8,468. All three benchmarks had been trading with more severe losses earlier Friday, including the Nasdaq, which had been down 3.5%. All three benchmarks simultaneously fell into correction territory on Thursday, defined as a drop of 10% from a recent peak, but not more than 20%, and the equity gauges are on track for their worst weekly declines since the 2008 financial crisis. The 10-year Treasury note was at 1.13%, reflecting continued worries about the impact of the virus to global economies and supply chains. Bond prices rise as yields fall. Powell in his statement emphasized that the fundamentals of the U.S. economy remain strong.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

28 Feb 2020 19:49

Oil futures fell sharply on Friday, to suffer their second month of losses as concerns over energy demand on the heels of the spread of COVID-19 continued to plague the market. Traders also weighed the potential outcomes for the gathering of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and their allies on March 5 and 6. April West Texas Intermediate oil fell $2.33, or about 5%, to settle at $44.76 barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The front-month contract fell over 16% for the week and tallied a monthly decline of more than 13%, according to FactSet data.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

28 Feb 2020 18:47

Gold futures fell by nearly 5% on Friday to log the biggest daily percentage decline for a most-active contract since June 2013, according to Dow Jones Market Data. Analysts attributed the decline to investors selling the precious metal to generate cash to cover losses in the stock market. ""We are witnessing some large forced selling due to overextended margin positions," said Jeff Wright, executive vice president of GoldMining Inc. However, "fundamentally, gold will recover" the $1,600- $1,650 levels next week, but could also touch $1,550 if more positions are liquidated," he said. April gold fell $75.80, or 4.6%, to settle at $1,566.70 an ounce. For the week, it was down 5% and it lost more than 1% for month.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

28 Feb 2020 18:44

Amazon.com Inc. is telling employees to cut back on non-essential U.S. travel because of the COVID-19 coronavirus, widening a similar ban on travel to China, according to a media report. Citing an Amazon spokesman, CNBC on Friday reported that Amazon is asking employees to hold off on planning meetings that require travel until at least the end of April. Shares of Amazon were down 2.1% at $1,845 in recent activity, while the S&P 500 Index was down 2.6%.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

28 Feb 2020 18:07

Baker Hughes on Friday reported that the number of active U.S. rigs drilling for oil fell by one to 678 this week. That followed modest increases in each of the last three weeks. The total active U.S. rig count, meanwhile, also declined by one to 790, according to Baker Hughes. Oil prices continued their decline on worries over the COVID-19 impact on energy demand. April West Texas Intermediate crude was down $2.39, or 5.1%, at $44.70 a barrel. It was trading at $44.86 before the rig data.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

28 Feb 2020 17:10

Passage Bio Inc. shares soared 19% in their trading debut Friday, after an initial public offering that priced at the top end of the $16 to $18 price range. Despite the turmoil in the market this week, the company upsized the deal to 12 million shares from 10 million, raising $216 million. Proceeds will be used to fund clinical development of therapies for rare, monogenic central nervous system disorders. "Our vision is to become the premier genetic medicines company by developing and ultimately commercializing therapies that dramatically and positively transform the lives of patients suffering from these life-threatening disorders," the company said in its IPO filing documents. The stock is trading on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol PASG. JPMorgan, Goldman Sachs and Cowen were lead managers on the deal. It was the only company brave enough to attempt to go public in the U.S. this week, in which the major indexes have posted their biggest declines since the 2008 financial crisis, amid growing fears about the rapid spread of the coronavirus named COVID-19 that broke out in Wuhan, China late last year.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

28 Feb 2020 16:25

Goldman Sachs on Friday said the spreading COVID-19 coronavirus could chop 0.5 percentage points off global growth in the first quarter and 0.2% percentage points in the second quarter, spurring the Federal Reserve and other central banks around the world to cut interest rates. The firm said it expects a rebound later in the year in the global economy if the virus is contained, but the damage is likely to be big enough to persuade the Fed to reduce a key U.S. interest rate by 75 basis points in the first half of 2020. The first cut in the bank's fed fund rate could come in March. The fed funds rate now sits between 1.5% and 1.75%. A less likely but still possible scenario is a global recession if mitigation efforts falter, Goldman Sachs said.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

28 Feb 2020 16:08

There are now a total of 83,861 cases of COVID-19 and at least 2,867 deaths, according to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins Whiting School of Engineering's Centers for Systems Science and Engineering. About 36,000 people have recovered. It's another day in which the rising case and death count has been driven largely by the growth of ex-China cases. The novel coronavirus was first identified in December in Wuhan, China. There are 388 cases in Iran and 34 deaths; 655 cases in Italy and 17 deaths; and 2,337 cases and 13 deaths in South Korea. In the U.S., there are 62 cases, including the first possible case of a transmission of the virus in the community, of a woman in Northern California who is being treated at a hospital in Sacramento. In addition, over the past two days, several countries have reported their first cases of COVID-19, including Brazil, Georgia, New Zealand, and Norway.

Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news.

     
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