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Mid-Morning Market Update: Markets Open Lower; General Mills Posts Downbeat Sales

Following the market opening Wednesday, the Dow traded down 4.17% to 20351.87 while the NASDAQ fell 2.96% to 7,117.79. The S&P also fell, dropping 3.85% to 2,431.81.

Benzinga · 03/18/2020 14:21

Following the market opening Wednesday, the Dow traded down 4.17% to 20351.87 while the NASDAQ fell 2.96% to 7,117.79. The S&P also fell, dropping 3.85% to 2,431.81.

Total cases in the US exceeded 6,400 with around 114 deaths. Italy reported a total of at least 31,500 confirmed cases and 2,500 deaths, while Iran confirmed a total of over 16,000 coronavirus cases. Mainland China reported 13 additional confirmed cases and 11 new deaths. In total, there are at least 201,000 cases of COVID-19 worldwide with over 8,000 deaths.

Leading and Lagging Sectors

Consumer staples shares slipped by just 1% on Wednesday. Meanwhile, top gainers in the sector included SpartanNash Company (NASDAQ: SPTN), up 11%, and Bioceres Crop Solutions Corp. (NYSE: BIOX), up 9%.

In trading on Wednesday, energy shares dipped 6.2%.

Top Headline

General Mills, Inc. (NYSE: GIS) reported in-line earnings for its third quarter, while sales missed estimates.

General Mills posted Q3 adjusted earnings of $0.77 per share, in-line versus analysts’ estimates. The company’s sales came in at $4.18 billion, missing analysts’ estimates of $4.23 billion.

General Mills said it expects FY20 adjusted EPS to rise 6%-8% and sales growth of 1%-2%.

 

Equities Trading UP

Biomerica, Inc. (NASDAQ: BMRA) shares shot up 160% to $6.09. Biomerica said it has commenced shipping initial samples of its COVID-19 IgG/IgM Rapid Test – a finger prick test with results in 10 minutes – to countries outside of the U.S.

Shares of IMV Inc. (NASDAQ: IMV) got a boost, shooting 32% to $2.6861. Imv said it's advancing the clinical development of a DPX-based vaccine candidate against COVID-19. Itintends to develop its vaccine candidate DPX-COVID-19 in collaboration with lead investigators for the phase 1 clinical study

BioNTech SE (NASDAQ: BNTX) shares were also up, gaining 45% to $96.82. BioNTech shares jumped over 66% on Tuesday after the company confirmed it is working with Pfizer regarding co-development and distribution of a potential mRNA-based coronavirus vaccine, BNT162, to prevent COVID-19 infection. JP Morgan downgraded BioNTech from Overweight to Neutral.

Equities Trading DOWN

Targa Resources Corp. (NYSE: TRGP) shares tumbled 35% to $4.705 after dipping around 27% on Tuesday.

Shares of Sachem Capital Corp. (NYSE: SACH) were down 35% to $1.51.

DCP Midstream, LP (NYSE: DCP) was down, falling 32% to $2.8856.

Commodities

In commodity news, oil traded down 5.8% to $25.39, while gold traded down 1.8% to $1,497.80.

Silver traded down 1.3% Wednesday to $12.33, while copper fell 4.5% to $2.21.

Euro zone

European shares were lower today. The eurozone’s STOXX 600 fell 4.7% the Spanish Ibex Index fell 4.5%, while Italy’s FTSE MIB Index fell 2.8%. Meanwhile, the German DAX dropped 5.2%, and the French CAC 40 fell 5.5% while UK shares fell 5.1%.

Economics

U.S. housing starts slipped 1.5% to an annualized rate of 1.599 million in February. Building permits dipped 5.5% to an annual rate of 1.464 million in February.

The Energy Information Administration’s weekly report on petroleum inventories in the U.S. is scheduled for release at 10:30 a.m. ET.