Dow closes out the worst first quarter in history: March 31, 2020

By CNN Business

Updated 4:33 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020
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1:06 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

Gap is furloughing tens of thousands of employees

From CNN Business' Jordan Valinsky

Gap is the latest brand to put thousands of staffers on furlough as the coronavirus pandemic continues to decimate the retail industry.

The company, which also owns Old Navy and J.Crew, announced late Monday that it's furloughing the "majority of its store teams in the United States and Canada." That amounts to tens of thousands of people, according to the company.

Affected employees will still receive benefits. Gap's leadership team will also take pay cuts.

"After taking the extraordinary measures of temporarily closing all of our company-owned stores in North America and Europe two weeks ago, we are now in a position where we must take deeper actions," Gap CEO Sonia Syngal said in a press release.

Gap (GPS) shares are down nearly 60% for the year. Macy's (M) and Kohl's (KSS) both announced similar moves Monday.

7:30 a.m. ET, March 31, 2020

US futures are bouncing higher after a strong Monday

From CNN Business' Jordan Valinsky

US stock futures bounced back from earlier losses to trade in positive territory. Wall Street enjoyed a solid start to the week Monday, with all three major indexes posting strong closing numbers even as coronavirus concerns linger.

Here's where they stand now:

  • Dow futures added 30 points, or 0.48%
  • Nasdaq is up 40 points, or 0.5%
  • S&P 500 is 3 points higher, or 0.1%
1:09 p.m. ET, March 31, 2020

Global stocks move higher after China's economy shows signs of life

Global stock markets moved higher Tuesday after data showed that manufacturing activity in China rebounded from record lows in March, even though the world's second largest economy remains under huge pressure from the coronavirus.

China's official manufacturing Purchasing Managers' Index surged from 35.7 in February to 52 in March, surpassing the consensus estimate from analysts. Survey data also showed a rebound in other parts of the economy. A reading above 50 indicates growth compared to the previous month.

Most major indexes in Asia advanced, and European markets opened higher:

  • The Shanghai Composite (SHCOMPadded 0.1%
  • Hong Kong's Hang Seng Index (HSIincreased 1.4%
  • The FTSE 100 (UKXjumped 2% in London
  • Germany's DAX (DAX) and France's CAC 40 (CAC40) posted similar gains

This doesn't mean output has returned to levels seen before the coronavirus outbreak, according to Julian Evans-Pritchard, senior China economist from Capital Economics, who said it "simply suggests that economic activity improved modestly relative to February's dismal showing."

6:25 a.m. ET, March 31, 2020

US oil futures are rebounding from historic lows

A sharp reduction in demand caused by the pandemic and a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia have pushed oil prices down dramatically. US crude futures sunk below $20 on Monday, hitting their lowest intraday price since February 2002.

US oil futures rebounded slightly to $21.28 a barrel on Tuesday. Brent crude, the global oil benchmark, rose to $23.23 a barrel.