5 things to know before the stock market opens February 27, 2020

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1. Dow looks to avoid a 6th straight session of selling

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., February 25, 2020.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

U.S. stock futures were pointing to about a 300-point loss for the Dow Jones Industrial Average at Thursday’s open on Wall Street after the CDC reported the first U.S. coronavirus case of unknown origin. The Dow has dropped more than 8%, or nearly 2,400 points, in five straight down sessions, with the worst coming in back-to-back 3% drops Monday and Tuesday. Investors will be looking at the January durable goods report, out at 8:30 a.m. ET, for signs of coronavirus impact on the economy. The first revision of fourth-quarter GDP and weekly jobless claims are also released at 8:30 a.m. 

2. CDC reports first ‘community spread’ in US of coronavirus

A CDC worker marks the tube after collecting biomaterial from a suspected 2019-nCoV patient for nucleic acid tests in a hotel for isolated people in Wuhan in central China’s Hubei province Tuesday, Feb. 04, 2020.

Barcroft Media | Getty Images

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is trying to figure out how someone in California contracted the new coronavirus. “It’s possible this could be an instance of community spread of COVID-19, which would be the first time this has happened in the United States,” the CDC said Wednesday. The bulk of the 60 cases in America are people who were evacuated from Wuhan, China, or the Diamond Princess cruise ship that was quarantined off the coast of Japan.

3. Coronavirus outbreak intensifies outside of China

South Korea, with total coronavirus cases of 1,766, saw 505 new cases overnight, which outpaced the 433 new cases reported in China. More than 81,000 people worldwide are infected with over 2,700 deaths. The bulk of cases and fatalities are still in China, where the outbreak originated. Italy’s 400 cases and 12 deaths are the worst pocket of coronavirus in Europe. Gilead Sciences, which has seen its stock soar in recent sessions, said it would begin its own studies for a potential treatment for the coronavirus next month.

4. Trump puts Pence in charge of US coronavirus response

Vice President Mike Pence has been put in charge of the U.S. response to the coronavirus. President Donald Trump made that announcement at a White House news conference Wednesday night as another major American company, Microsoft, warned about coronavirus impact, saying it did not expect to meet prior guidance for its PC segment, due to supply chain disruptions. Trump, who CNBC sources said was livid about this week’s outbreak-driven market plunge, blamed some of the recent selling on fears a Democrat could win the presidential election.

5. Sanders to rally Silicon Valley ahead of Super Tuesday

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) speaks during the Democratic presidential primary debate at the Charleston Gaillard Center on February 25, 2020 in Charleston, South Carolina.

Win McNamee | Getty Images

One day after Saturday’s South Carolina Democratic presidential primary, current delegate leader Sen. Bernie Sanders plans to seek support from both Silicon Valley workers and those hurt by the tech-inflated housing crunch in California. Sanders holds a rally in San Jose on Sunday. The Golden State’s primary is one of the 16 nominating contests held two days later on Super Tuesday, when a third of the party’s delegates are up for grabs. Former Vice President Joe Biden is looking to Saturday’s South Carolina primary and contests on Super Tuesday to revive his struggling campaign.

Correction: An earlier version overstated the Dow’s expected drop at Thursday’s open.

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