In U.S. economic news, the NFIB survey, a monthly snapshot of small businesses, found that the optimism index fell in March to 96.4, an 8.1-point decline and the largest monthly decline in the survey’s history.
The survey data come just a week after the U.S. government’s rolled out a coronavirus-rescue package, known as the CARES Act, which initially includes $350 billion in forgivable loans for small businesses.
“The doom and gloom crowd is still out in force, and the Street appears to be betting on at least one more down leg to this correction before a sustained bounce begins,” wrote Mizuho’s U.S. Chief Economist Steven Ricchiuto, in a note Tuesday.
Which stocks were in focus?
Shares of Carnival Corp . /zigman2/quotes/202325446/composite CCL -1.19% rose again Tuesday. The cruise-ship operator’s stock advanced 10.7%, following a 21% Monday rise, after Saudi Arabia’s sovereign-wealth fund disclosed an 8.2% stake in the firm. However, shares have fallen roughly 80% year-to-date. Rivals Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings Ltd . /zigman2/quotes/204183397/composite NCLH -2.55% and Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd . /zigman2/quotes/208854639/composite RCL +0.33% ended up sharply.
Beaten-down airline stocks closed mixed Tuesday, including shares of Delta Air Lines Inc. /zigman2/quotes/200327741/composite DAL -1.75% , American Airlines Group Inc . /zigman2/quotes/209207041/composite AAL -4.37% , and United Airlines Holdings Inc . /zigman2/quotes/205037281/composite UAL -2.94% .
Exxon Mobil Corp. said Tuesday that it was reducing its 2020 capex spending by 20% and lowering its cash operating expenses by 30% to combat the effects of lower oil prices.
Kohl’s Corp . /zigman2/quotes/210414114/composite KSS -4.47% shares surged 20.1%, after giving back some of its 29% advance early in the session.
Discount retailer TJX Companies /zigman2/quotes/203136811/composite TJX -2.44% said it would temporarily put most of its retail stores and distribution center employees on furlough after April 11, while the company’s chief executive and executive chair agreed to cut their base salaries by 30% for a set period. Shares rose 1.2%.
How did other markets trade?
In bond markets, the yield on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note /zigman2/quotes/211347051/realtime BX:TMUBMUSD10Y -2.72% rose about 6 basis points to 0.735%.
Crude oil prices settled lower, with the price of a barrel of West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery losing $2.45, or 9.4%, to close at $23.63 a barrel, after the Energy Information Administration slashed its U.S. and global benchmark price forecasts by more than 20% for this year. In precious metals, the price of an ounce of gold for June delivery /zigman2/quotes/210036801/delayed GCM20 +0.22% fell $10.20, or 0.6%, to settle at $1,683.70 an ounce.
The U.S. dollar fell 0.8% relative to a basket of trading peers, according to the ICE U.S. Dollar /zigman2/quotes/210598269/delayed DXY -0.14%
In Europe, stocks finished trading higher, with the Stoxx Europe 600 /zigman2/quotes/210599654/delayed XX:SXXP -1.44% gaining 1.9%, its second day in a row of gains.
In Asia overnight, stocks closed significantly higher. The China CSI 300 /zigman2/quotes/210598128/delayed XX:000300 +0.27% rose 2.3%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index /zigman2/quotes/210598030/delayed HK:HSI -0.74% added 2.1% and Japan’s Nikkei 225 /zigman2/quotes/210597971/delayed JP:NIK -0.18% rose 2%.
<STRONG>Chris Matthews contributed to this article</STRONG>