The stock market continues to act like the weather – good one day and bad the next – unpredictable. It continues to defy prediction and even great news has little lasting effect. At least, there is still some hope left.
Hopes seem to have been buoyed by President Trump’s statement that we cannot stay closed forever, and that we don’t want “the cure to be worse than the disease.”
Although we all want it to be different, it looks like coronavirus is just getting started in this country. It is starting to spread like wildfire and will quickly get much worse.
Many Businesses Closed
Many businesses remain closed, greatly affecting the economy. While some will survive the shutdown, the longer they stay shut, the more will be forced to close – permanently. It is coming down to a choice – unless there is a mandated closure in the area – that small business owners will have to decide between getting sick or being forced into bankruptcy.
China Slowly Going Back to Work
The city of Wuhan in China is slowly relaxing its lockdown and some citizens are venturing back to work. They have started the first train service but have promised to add new ones slowly. This is intended to keep too many people from returning to work, just in case coronavirus strikes again. It may also help people who were locked into the city but did not live there to try and return home. Despite the increased freedom for some, many are fearful of getting close to others.
Along with other industries, home sales have all but stopped. Consumers do not want to go out and look at homes for sale and it seems most people are not interested in buying a home in these uncertain times. Many scheduled open houses in the Big Apple had to be canceled, and there were slightly more than 25% fewer ones being held than in the week before.
The airlines in the United States are considering whether to shut down all domestic flights completely or not. This may happen even if the government does not demand it. The TSA reports that passengers coming through their checkpoints are now only 20% of what it was this same time one year ago.
Although oil prices saw a slight incline today, there is no guarantee that they will stay there. In at least one place in the country, gas prices at the pump have dropped to $0.99 per gallon. Many more areas may get used to seeing it this low.
America Going Back to Work?
President Trump is mulling the idea of lessening the coronavirus restrictions to strengthen the economy. A relaxing of the restrictions would allow many businesses to reopen and people get back to work. This seems to be a greater concern than the lives that could be saved. This decision will be made at the end of 15 days.
Already there are 43,901 cases of coronavirus in the U.S. and 553 deaths. There are 10,168 new cases so far just today, and 140 new deaths today. At this rate, we are likely to pass Italy in the number of cases (not deaths) in about three or four days. Even if the restrictions are loosened – how many people would risk the exposure?
In the Senate, there still is no deal for a $2 trillion economic rescue package as all Democrats fight to add more of their favorite agendas. This is the second time a deal has failed to be reached. When it passes, there will be a sudden rise in stock value.