The dismal reports on the service side underperformed even the estimated weakness – hinting of a market which is struggling to gauge just how bad this will all be for the real economy. On the flipside, manufacturing PMIs came in better than anticipated as a theme – although it's worth reiterating the context that all PMIs were sub-50 and decidedly in contractionary territory. Risk assets appear to be bouncing at the moment; this is occurring despite the inability of Congress to advance a stimulus bill to address the fallout from Covid-19 – still waiting.
We've offered the observation Italy is being viewed as the archetype for the pandemic in terms of speed of contagion and mortality – as imperfect of an estimate as it might ultimately prove. With this backdrop, stock futures hit the limit-up overnight and Treasury yields were modestly higher as the most recent Italian coronavirus stats indicated the growth of new cases might be slowing. In keeping with the theme of 'moving on' for parts of the world impacted, transportation to Wuhan is scheduled to resume on April 7 – after new infections fell to zero on March 19. We'll be the first to suggest there is no obvious roadmap to recovery from this outbreak, although the experience (and response) of other areas has provided at least partial and imperfect information to aid in the domestic reaction.
The dueling concerns of containing the virus and limiting the economic fallout are the obvious driving force behind President Trump's comments that "America will again, and soon, be open for business. Very soon. A lot sooner than three or four months." This was also perhaps in response to Bullard's suggestion the government should shut down the economy for three months; the odds of James replacing Jay anytime soon have been materially lowered. Just an observation.