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  • The Dow finished 0.1%, or 26 points.
  • The S&P 500 closed down 0.2%.
  • The Nasdaq Composite finished 0.3% lower. 

US benchmarks were under pressure into the close on Tuesday, turning around in a big way to end in a sea of red, with the S&P 500 making the biggest single-day turnaround since 2008. Despite growing signs that the contagion of the COVID-19 pandemic may be easing off in parts of the world, US stocks were unable to hold onto gains in the last hour of trade.

At a mid-day news conference on Tuesday, New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that daily hospitalizations were plateauing in the state which boosted risk appetite. However, bulls couldn’t hold on and buckled under the pressure in fast markets an traders eager to cash in and not catch falling knives. Consequently, After a day of gains, the Dow finished 0.1%, or 26 points, lower. At its highest point, the index had been up 937 points. The S&P 500 closed down 0.2% and the Nasdaq Composite finished 0.3% lower. 

Stimulus and uncertainty driving forces

The stimulus keeps-on coming which is one-factor supporting markets, but the uncertainty is making for higher volatility again and on a shortened week, with Good Friday around the corner, investors will be quick to cash in on rallies. The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 rose to more than 1.38 million around the world, spreading across more than 100 countries, while deaths topped 78,000, according to data aggregated by Johns Hopkins University. Worryingly, there are more than 370,500 confirmed cases in the US and more than 11,000 deaths, with New York reporting 731 dead, its highest daily rate yet.

Then, looking to Japan, it too has now declared a state of emergency in seven of its prefectures to help direct resources to slowing the spread of the illness. As analysts at ANZ bank noted, “Japan’s Prime Minister Abe has declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and six other provinces and plans to combat the economic fallout of COVID-19 with a huge fiscal stimulus package. The package, worth ¥16.5trn, equates to 20% of GDP.”

Te analysts at ANZ also pointed out that “European leaders are meeting to discuss a policy tool-kit potentially worth up to €540bn (3.8% of GDP). However, it will be challenging to get a broad agreement between European leaders on the debt mutualisation plan. In the US, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin is seeking an additional USD250bn for small business loans.”

DJIA levels