US stock futures were priced lower on Wednesday, after the President warned of a “painful two weeks” ahead, with an estimated 100,000 to 240,000 deaths in the US as Covid-19 spreads throughout the country.

The nation has more confirmed cases than any other country, with more than 189,000 infections and over 4,000 deaths reported thus far.

Stocks are beginning their second tax quarter with more declines, as disappointed investors assessed the pandemic’s worsening impact on corporate profits and dividends, sparking a fresh wave of selling.

“Our strength will be tested, our endurance will be tried”, Trump said at his daily White House briefing on Tuesday.

Ahead, today's economic calendar includes; the ADP Employment Report for March at 8:15am EST, the PMI Manufacturing Index for March at 9:45am, the ISM Manufacturing Index for March at 10am EST, Construction Spending for February at 10am EST, followed by Crude Oil Inventories for the week ended March 27 at 10:30am EST.

The earnings calendar for today includes reports from; Lamb Weston (LW) and PVH (PVH).

TODAY'S TOP HEADLINES
Coronavirus: Global Coronavirus Death Toll Passes 42,000. (The WSJ)
The global coronavirus death toll topped 42,000 as President Trump said the US could have nearly a quarter of a million deaths from the pandemic over time.

ECONOMIC CALENDAR
Today's Economical Announcements.
08:15AM - ★★★ - ADP Nonfarm Employ. (Mar) (Previous: 183K)
09:45AM - ★★☆ - Manufacturing PMI (Mar) (Previous: 50.7)
10:00AM - ★★★ - ISM Manufacturing PMI (Mar) (Previous: 50.1)
10:00AM - ★☆☆ - Construction Spending (Feb) (Previous: 1.8%)
10:30AM - ★★★ - Crude Oil Inventories (Previous: 1.623M)

STOCKS IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Pre-Market Movers & News Related Stocks.

Macy’s (M): [NEWS] Is being removed from the S&P 500 index and will be placed in the S&P SmallCap 600 as of April 6. Macy’s has a market cap of about $1.5 billion, the smallest in the S&P 500.

Caterpillar (CAT): [NEWS] Will withhold annual salary increases for executives, managers, and salaried employees, in an effort to hold down expenses amid the coronavirus outbreak. The heavy equipment maker will also not pay out bonuses to employees next year.

Xerox (XRX): [NEWS] Dropped its $35 billion hostile bid for HP Inc. (HPQ), saying it was prioritizing its response to the outbreak over all other considerations. Xerox had planned to put up its own slate of directors for election to HP’s board but has now dropped that effort as well.

Sysco Corp. (SYY): [NEWS] Is cutting out fresh food sales for its customers and focusing on frozen products, according to a report in the New York Post.

Home Depot (HD): [NEWS] Will institute new safety measures in response to the outbreak, including earlier store closures and limiting the number of customers allowed into stores at one time. The company has also increased paid time off for hourly workers.

Verizon (VZ): [REVIEW] Goldman Sachs added Verizon to its “Conviction Buy” list, saying it offers investors the most attractive combination of total return and risk, thanks to the stability of its wireless business.

Quest Diagnostics (DGX): [GUIDANCE] Has pulled its previous financial guidance for 2020, as it tries to determine the impact of the coronavirus on its results.

Papa John’s Pizza (PZZA): [UPGRADE] Upgraded to “buy” from “neutral” at MKM Partners, which said the pizza segment of the restaurant industry appears better positioned to deal with the current environment, given their delivery and digital infrastructure.

British American Tobacco (BTI): [NEWS] The cigarette maker’s US biotech unit is developing a COVID-19 vaccine derived from tobacco leaves that is currently undergoing pre-clinical testing.

Becton Dickinson (BDX): [NEWS] The medical products maker will launch a test that can determine both current and past exposure to the coronavirus within minutes.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), HSBC (HSBC), Barclays (BCS): [DIVIDEND] These and other big UK banks canceled their dividends to shore up their balance sheets amid an expected increase in bad loans due to the virus outbreak.

MOMENTUM STOCKS
GAINERS: HEP, SUM, OMER, TSG, NTRA
DECLINERS: CRNC, EGHT, VFC, AGNC, AAL

TODAY'S IPOs
WiMi Hologram Cloud (WIMI) (Price: 5.50) ($26.1M)

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