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CORONAVIRUS WEEKLY WRAP

April 3, 2020

On Friday, the state of New York reported the highest death toll in a single day since the coronavirus crisis began — with over 500 people succumbing to the disease in the state that contains the country’s financial capital. More broadly, the total number of deaths from coronavirus rose above 7,000 in the United States for the first time.

Against this backdrop, The S&P 500 Index closed down 2% lower, with US equity markets capping their worst monthly and quarterly decline since the darkest depths of the global financial crisis in 2008. Small caps stocks posted even more dramatic losses, as the Russell 2000 Index tumbled more than 7% since the close of trading last Friday.

Job market data turned truly dismal: A record 6.6 million US workers filed for unemployment benefits last week — doubling the previous record of 3.3 million jobless claims, which was set during this crisis the week before. March non-farm payrolls plummeted by more than 700,000 jobs — it’s worse collapse since the Great Recession, according to official data from The Department of Labor released on Friday.

The financial services industry has struggled to meet sector-specific challenges. JPMorgan Chase suffered an outbreak on coronavirus at its Madison Avenue headquarters, concentrated around its equity trading desks, after remote trading systems could not be effectively deployed at the bank, according to published reports. Bank of America launched its small business relief program on Friday, making it the first major lender to do so; within hours, the bank was swamped with requests from over 85,000 customers, who used its web-based portal to apply for more the $22 billion in loans in a single day.

For the first time since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, CDC formally recommended that all Americans wear face masks in public to prevent the spread of the virus.

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