The Dow Jones in on course for its worst first quarter in history and the S&P 500 is on track for its worst since 1938, plus stocks to watch today in the Money & Markets Opening Bell.
The Top Story
Expansion in Chinese factory activity and a slight rebound in oil prices may not be enough to lift U.S. stock indexes out of their worst first quarters in recent memory.
Despite double-digit rallies last week and another bump Monday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average is on pace for its worst quarter since 1987 and its worst first quarter ever. The S&P 500 could close out its worst first quarter in more than eight decades.
The tech-heavy Nasdaq is set to close out its worst first three months of the year since 2008.
What’s happening in China: China’s official manufacturing purchasing managers’ index (PMI) bounced to 52.0 in March, up from a record-low 35.7 in February, but analysts cautioned that a durable near-term recovery is far from assured as the global coronavirus crisis slams foreign demand.
How about oil: Oil prices have rebounded slightly after the U.S. and Russia agreed to talk about stabilizing energy markets. That has helped lift oil giants Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX) and ExxonMobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) more than 2% in premarket trading.
How things stand now: Stock futures are mostly flat in the early morning hours. As of 8 a.m. EDT, Dow Jones futures were down 0.7%. S&P 500 futures were off by 0.9% while Nasdaq Composite futures were down 0.4%.
Stocks to Watch Today
Amarin Corp. (Nasdaq: AMRN) — The Irish-based biopharmaceutical company suffered a massive blow when a Nevada judge ruled generic drug makers can produce knock offs the company’s triglycerides treatment, Vascepa. Shares of Amarin dropped 70% in premarket trading.
Zoom Video Communications Inc. (Nasdaq: ZM) — Shares of the remote conferencing services company were down nearly 2% after reports the New York Attorney General’s office is looking into the privacy practices of the company. It was also reported the company is being sued for passing user data on to third parties without notifying users.
Cronos Group Inc. (Nasdaq: CRON) — The Canadian cannabis company reported missing its Q4 revenue estimates, but it beat its quarterly earnings. Shares of Cronos Group were down by nearly 6%.
News You Can Use
Analysts with Goldman Sachs Group Inc. (NYSE: GS) believe the worst hit to the U.S. economy is ahead, not behind.
The world’s largest economy will see its gross domestic product drop an annualized 34% in the second quarter and unemployment will jump to 15% by the middle of the year, they wrote.
Economists, however, were expecting a massive rebound in the third quarter, with GDP jumping 19%.
World’s Largest Advertising Group Pulls Dividend, Guidance
WPP Group, the world’s largest advertising company, pulled its dividend and share buyback program along with withdrawing its 2020 guidance on Tuesday.
CEO Mark Read told CNBC the firm is “taking actions to reduce and look at our costs,” but “there will no doubt be tougher decisions ahead, during the course of the year.”
Other major players in the advertising space Publicis and IPG also are bracing for a tougher climate ahead. Publicis is planning to “rigorously manage operating costs,” while IPG has pulled its 2020 performance targets.
Banks Stuck With $23 Billion in Loans for T-Mobile’s Sprint Deal
A group of 16 banks was notified on Monday to have $23 billion in loans available for T-Mobile US Inc. (Nasdaq: TMUS) so it can close its merger with Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S).
According to Bloomberg, it comes at a time when banks are already getting requests from companies to draw billions of dollars from revolving credit facilities. Data showed American companies have tapped banks for more than $190 billion through existing credit or new short-term loans since March 9.
For T-Mobile, banks are providing $19 billion through a 364-day bridge loan and a $4 billion seven-year term loan.
What We’re Reading
US, Russia Agree to Talk Oil as Trump Blasts ‘Crazy’ Price War (Money & Markets)
Airbnb Extends Coronavirus Cancellation Window to May 31 (CNBC)
Will the Fed Buy Stocks? ‘No Reason to Believe They Won’t’ (Money & Markets)
Here are the companies releasing earnings reports today:
BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX)
Blackberry Ltd. (NYSE: BB)
Conagra Brands Inc. (NYSE: CAG)
Landec Corp. (Nasdaq: LNDC)
Verint Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: VRNT)
Check back each morning before the opening bell for stocks to watch today with Opening Bell, here on Money & Markets.