Good morning, Bull Sheeters. We’re looking at a positive start to this trade-shortened week.

Let’s see where investors are putting their money.

Markets update

We begin in Asia. Japan’s Nikkei is soaring, up 4% in afternoon trade, and Hong Kong’s Hang Sang is having its best day in a week. (Chinese markets are closed today.) The markets are climbing on hopes we’re turning a corner in the fight against coronavirus after some promising figures from over the weekend. In a sign of investor confidence, the benchmark KOSPI of South Korea, a model country in fighting the outbreak, is up 23% since its March 19 low.


There are green screens across Europe at the open as well. Hotspot-countries Italy, Spain and France all recorded declines in the coronavirus death toll in recent days. Now the focus in on Britain where Prime Minister Boris Johnson was hospitalized on Sunday as his coronavirus symptoms persist. The British pound sunk 0.4% initially on the news, but has since rebounded.


The U.S. futures are set to pop at the open. The Dow looks to add 800 points, as I type, and the S&P 500 is on pace to gain close to …

Another day, another surprise for the economic forecasters: a record 6.6 million people filed for unemployment last week. Oxford Economics in an email called it an “incomprehensible jump” that may be “the new normal.” Joe Brusuelas, chief economist for middle market audit and advisory firm RSM, wrote that such “tectonic shifts” imply a “real-time unemployment rate of 10.1% at a minimum.”

There is so much uncertainty in the world right now that economic forecasters are downgrading their predictions almost as fast as they can make them. Within a few weeks, Goldman Sachs downgraded its second quarter GDP estimates from –2% to –24% to –32%.

Predictions are pretty clear that a recession, and maybe a very bad one, is in the offing. But given how quickly the situation is changing, is there a chance the country is heading for a depression?

Fortune discussed the issue with 10 economists and financial market experts. Most at this point consider a recession essentially a given. And a depression? That’s where opinions start to diverge wildly.

After all, out of the 22 recessions since 1900, according to the National Bureau of Economic Research, only one was dire enough to warrant such a title: the …

We may be staring down the highest levels of joblessness, ever.

A total of 7.1 million Americans were unemployed in March, up 1.4 million from last month, according to data published Friday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

But the actual number of Americans out of work is far greater, given that report is through March 13—before the unprecedented wave of layoffs. In the two weeks ended March 21 and March 28, the country saw a combined 10 million initial unemployment claims.

If you combine the number of Americans unemployed in the March jobs report and the following two weeks of unemployment claims, then the unemployed total sits above 17 million—a number more massive than the Great Recession’s peak of 14.7 million in June 2009. In fact, 17 million unemployed Americans would be the highest level in the country’s history.

“The March unemployment numbers are old and do not reflect what is happening now in the labor market,” says Ryan Sweet, an economist at Moody’s Analytics. “There are a lot more unemployed than it is showing…If you tack on [unemployment] claims the past two weeks, the number is above 17 million unemployed.”

The March jobs report numbers were …

Senator Kelly Loeffler sold a total of $46,027 worth of stock in an online travel company in the day leading up to President Donald Trump’s announcement of a ban on most European travel to the U.S.

Though the transactions were relatively small for Loeffler and her husband — whose net worth is estimated at more than $500 million — the sales represented an about-face.

Loeffler, a Georgia Republican, had just days earlier purchased the shares, in Booking Holdings, jointly with her husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, the chief executive officer of Intercontinental Exchange, parent firm of the New York Stock Exchange

Booking Holdings provides online bookings for flights, hotels and other travel-related services, all of which have collapsed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The stock was purchased on March 6, the day that Loeffler traveled with Trump, visiting the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters in Atlanta for an update on the coronavirus response, and continuing on a later flight to Florida.

It was sold on March 10 and 11. After the markets closed on March 11, the president announced his European travel restrictions.

The details, provided by the senator’s office, go beyond the financial transaction reports she recently filed that merely require …

The stock market may have just had its worst quarter in 33 years, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t pockets of the market where investors can insulate themselves from all the damage.

The age-old debate between growth stocks and value stocks, for instance, is one area in which investors may be able to find some solace. According to equity investment firm Alger Management, the disparity between the two categories has grown markedly since the beginning of this year—with growth stocks coming out on top.

As Alger notes, the Russell 1000 Growth Index has outperformed both the Russell 1000 Value Index and the S&P 500 since the end of last year, with that divergence becoming more pronounced since the stock market began its coronavirus-related swan dive in mid-February. While having still fallen steeply, the growth index has lost only 18% this year to date, compared to a 31% drop in the value index and a 24% decline for the S&P 500.

Growth stock indices have outperformed both value stocks indices and the S&P 500 since the start of the year. Credit: Alger

The investment manager points to a few factors behind the dichotomy, such as the impact of lower interest

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Good morning, and welcome to a new quarter. Nobody is sorry to see the backside of Q1.

Let’s take a look to see if the turn-of-the-calendar is improving market sentiment.

Markets update

We begin in Asia where the Hang Sang and Shanghai Composite are both trading lower this morning, erasing yesterday’s gains. HSBC and Standard Chartered dragged down the Hong Kong session after saying they’ll scrap dividends and buybacks. Making matter worse, the region is on alert for a possible second wave of coronavirus, a devastating scenario.


Now to Europe. The European bourses finished Q1 on an up note yesterday. Today, they fell at the open. The markets are rattled by the number of companies suspending buybacks and withdrawing full-year outlooks—from automotive parts manufacturer, Continental AG, to Adidas.

Meanwhile, the airlines are on life support as global air travel grinds to a halt. IATA, the industry trade group, warned yesterday that airlines will run out of cash by the summer if lawmakers fail to deliver meaningful aid to the sector. IATA …