Fed Chairman Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin testified before Congress and the House Financial Services Committee.
In prepared testimony, Jerome Powell said that the economic recovery had started earlier than expected. Despite that, he believes the economy is still much weaker than it was before the crisis.
Several government programs have been put in place to help revive the economy. Both Jerome Powell and Steven Mnuchin say those programs haven’t been very effective. They also say the economic outlook is “extraordinarily uncertain.”
On top of that, there will be much be more fiscal and monetary support for the economy.
No one is quite sure what the additional support will look like. The Fed has already bought $428 million worth of bonds to prop up the credit markets. More bond purchases are expected.
Right now, no one’s sure how much more support Congress is willing to give the economy going forward.
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The Big News . . .
16 States Halt Reopening
With more than 2.5 million reported COVID-19 cases in the U.S., at least 16 states have halted their reopening plans. Bars in Texas have been ordered shut again and Florida has banned on-premise alcohol consumption. Arizona has shut down bars, gyms and other businesses for at least the next month. At this point, it’s unclear when states will get back on track for reopening.
Remdesivir Gets A Price
The Department of Health and Human Services and Gilead Sciences (NASDAQ: GILD) have reached an arrangement for the sale of remdesivir. It’s the first drug shown to be effective against COVID-19. Gilead will sell remdesivir to hospitals for $520 per vial. That works out to about $3,120 per course of treatment for the average COVID-19 case. The drug will also only be available in the U.S. through September.
Shell Blames COVID For Oil Drop
Royal Dutch Shell (NYSE: RDS.B) is writing down the value of its assets by as much as $22 billion in the wake of the COVID crisis. The company said it expects Brent crude to cost $41 per barrel in 2021 and $50 in 2022. Based on that forecast, the oil the company has in the ground just isn’t worth as much. Royal Dutch said that decline is based entirely on reduced demand because of the pandemic.
The Coronavirus Numbers
Here the numbers from Wednesday at 3:40 p.m. ET:
- 10,708.589 Infected worldwide
- 516,570 Global deaths
- 2,758,395 Infected in the U.S.
- 130,446 Deaths in the U.S.
Stocks rose slightly on Wednesday.
The S&P 500 and Nasdaq each added around 1%. And the Dow Jones Industrial Average was essentially flat.
It’s safe to say there’s a lot of uncertainty right now.
With infections spiking and states rolling back their plans to reopen, all we can do right now is wait and see what happens.
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