Stock market live Friday: Dow down 900, worst week in 11 years, oil craters

Traders work on the floor at the New York Stock Exchange, March 2, 2020.

Brendan McDermid | Reuters

7:41 am: GOP senators face questions over stock sales before market plunge

Republican senators Richard Burr of North Carolina and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia are facing questions over their decision to sell large equity holdings before global markets began a historic plunge thanks to the spread of the novel coronavirus. Burr, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, sold somewhere between $630,000 and $1.7 million worth of stock while Loeffler disclosed a string of sales that began on Jan. 24, the same day her committee hosted a private briefing about the virus.

In the three weeks after Jan. 24, Loeffler and her husband, Jeffrey Sprecher, sold shares worth between $1.25 million and $3.1 million, according to government records. Sprecher is chairman of the New York Stock Exchange and chairman and CEO of its holding company International Exchange. — Franck, Wilkie

7:40 am: Coronavirus update: Global death toll tops 10,000, California issues stay home order

The global death toll from the coronavirus pandemic has risen above 10,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. On Thursday, Italy overtook China to be the world’s deadliest hot spot with 3,405 deaths registered. Meanwhile, California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Thursday issued a statewide order for all residents to “stay at home” amid a coronavirus outbreak. The stay home order is in place till further notice. — Li

7:37 am: Oil prices extend gains, bouncing 5%

Oil extended gains on Friday, one day after surging more than 23% in its best day on record. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude jumped 4.6% to $26.39 per barrel, while international benchmark Brent crude gained 3.4%. Traders are hoping that stimulus measures announced worldwide will help curb the economic slowdown caused by the coronavirus. Recent gains notwithstanding, WTI is still on track for its worst month on record. —Stevens

7:35 am: Tech stocks jumping again

Shares of technology companies such as Microsoft and Nvidia, up more than 4% each, climbed in premarket trading. The rise came as the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite headed for its second day gains, with Nasdaq-100 futures jumping almost 5%. The five “FAANG” stocks — Facebook, Apple, Amazon, Netflix and Google-parent Alphabet— all rose as well. —Sheetz

7:34 am: Dollar weakens after soaring this week

The dollar index fell on Friday, weakening 0.6% to 102.16 after central bank actions. Still, the U.S. dollar is up about 3.5% this week against a basket of currencies as investors seek safety and liquidity in the world’s reverse currency. At its three-year peak of nearly 103 hit overnight, the dollar was up more than 5%, its biggest weekly gain since October 2008.

A strong dollar is difficult for U.S. exporters during this time of economic uncertainty. A weaker dollar makes it cheaper for people overseas to buy U.S.-made products, which helps U.S. companies. – Fitzgerald

7:10 am: Stocks set to rise, Nasdaq futures hit ‘limit up’

Stocks were poised to rally on Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures were up about 700 points, implying a gain of more than 500 points at the open on Friday. S&P 500 futures were up about 3%. Nasdaq futures jumped nearly 5% and were ‘limit up,’ meaning no trades could take place above those levels. 

U.S. equities got a boost from California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s statewide “state at home” order to curb the spike in infections of the coronavirus. Prices in oil rebounding and the dollar index weakening, after strengthening all week, also helped stocks. 

Thursday’s market moves took a little breaking from the extreme volatility experienced lately. The Dow rose nearly 200 points, the S&P 500 rose 0.5% and the Nasdaq surged 2.3%.However, The Dow is still down more than 13% for the week, putting it on track for its largest weekly percentage loss since the financial crisis.  — Fitzgerald 

— with reporting from CNBC’s Yun Li and Thomas Franck. 

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