Midway through trading Wednesday, the Dow traded down 5.99% to 19,965.62 while the NASDAQ fell 4.59% to 6,997.75. The S&P also fell, dropping 5.35% to 2,394.00.
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 2.8% on Wednesday. Meanwhile, top gainers in the sector included SpartanNash Company (NASDAQ: SPTN), up 19%, and United Natural Foods, Inc. (NYSE: UNFI), up 23%.
In trading on Wednesday, energy shares dipped 10.4%.
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 303% to $9.42. 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 24% to $2.5099. Imv said it's advancing the clinical development of a DPX-based vaccine candidate against COVID-19. It intends to develop its vaccine candidate DPX-COVID-19 in collaboration with lead investigators for the phase 1 clinical study
Vaxart, Inc. (NASDAQ: VXRT) shares were also up, gaining 28% to $2.47 after the company entered into an agreement with Emergent Biosolutions for the development and manufacturing of oral coronavirus vaccine candidate.
Equities Trading DOWN
The Michaels Companies, Inc. (NASDAQ: MIK) shares tumbled 33% to $1.51. Various analysts downgraded shares of Michaels Companies.
Shares of National CineMedia, Inc. (NASDAQ: NCMI) were down 35% to $1.7650 after Benchmark downgraded the stock from Buy to Hold.
Marriott Vacations Worldwide Corporation (NYSE: VAC) was down, falling 40% to $36.37 after the company withdrew its FY20 guidance.
In commodity news, oil traded down 15.1% to $22.89, while gold traded down 2% to $1,494.80.
Silver traded down 3.2% Wednesday to $12.095, while copper fell 6.5% to $2.164.
European shares were lower today. The eurozone’s STOXX 600 fell 3.9% the Spanish Ibex Index fell 3.9%, while Italy’s FTSE MIB Index fell 1.1%. Meanwhile, the German DAX dropped 4.6%, and the French CAC 40 fell 5.9% while UK shares fell 4.03%.
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.
U.S. crude supplies climbed 2 million barrels for the week ended March 13, the Energy Information Administration reported. However, analysts expected a gain of 2.6 million barrels. Gasoline supplies fell 6.2 million barrels, while distillate supplies dropped 2.9 million barrels.