The U.S. Senate passed a $2 trillion stimulus package, but Wall Street is likely more concerned with an expected massive jump in jobless claims today, plus stocks to watch today in the Money & Markets Opening Bell.
The Top Story
The U.S. Labor Department’s jobs report — which will be released just prior to the market open — is expected to show a massive spike in unemployment benefits claims.
What the experts expect: Analysts are all over the board about what they believe the report will show. The range is from 1 million to 4 million Americans will have filed for unemployment benefits in the last week. California Gov. Gavin Newsom said his state has already seen 1 million new unemployment claims since March 13.
What it means: The jobs report will show just how big the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on American businesses. Unemployment is also a factor when determining when the economy enters a recession.
How Wall Street has reacted: After a second straight day of gains on Wednesday, futures started to turn south this morning, but picked up despite the 3.2 million Americans filing for unemployment. As of 9:20 a.m. EDT, Dow Jones futures were 0.3%. S&P 500 futures were flat while Nasdaq Composite futures were up by 0.2%.
Stocks to Watch Today
Cheesecake Factory Inc. (Nasdaq: CAKE) — The restaurant company recently told its landlords it will not be able to make upcoming rent payments for any of its stores on April 1. CEO David Overton did ask for patience in a letter to landlords. Shares of Cheesecake Factory were down 16.5%.
Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) — The auto giant saw its credit rating cut by S&P to junk status, and Moody’s put Ford on “watch” after it downgraded the automaker. Shares of Ford were down 5.5% in the premarket session.
Groupon Inc. (Nasdaq: GRPN) — Shares of the daily deals provider were down 1.5% after it announced CEO Rich Williams and COO Steve Krenzer were no longer serving in their roles. While no reason was given for the management change, the company said both continue to work for Groupon.
News You Can Use
United Airlines Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: UAL) is slashing its domestic schedule beyond what it’s already planned.
According to Tech Crunch, United Airlines plans to trim 52% of its domestic capacity as demands for flights continue to dwindle as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. It originally planned to halt 42% of its domestic schedule.
Between international and domestic flights, United said it will cut its capacity by 68% in April.
Walmart Offers Rent Relief to Shops Within its Stores
To help its business partners inside stores, Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) is waiving rent for its property partners in April, according to CNBC.
More than 10,000 businesses operate within Walmart Supercenters and Sam’s Clubs — including hair and nail salons, optometrists, restaurant franchises and local and regional banks.
Additionally, the retail giant is adding resources and eliminating an eligibility requirement to help its suppliers get payments faster.
World Trade Rocked by Virus Sees Worst Collapse in a Generation
The coronavirus has had a devastating effect on global trade as cargo traffic grinds to a halt.
According to Bloomberg, U.S. import and export volumes started to slow in the weeks leading up to shutdowns in American cities.
U.S. exports have dwindled from 14 million tons in November 2019 to 1 million tons in March 2020.
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Here are the companies releasing earnings reports today:
Embraer SA (NYSE: ERJ)
FactSet Research Systems Inc. (NYSE: FDS)
GameStop Corp. (NYSE: GME)
Lululemon Athletica Inc. (Nasdaq: LULU)
Oxford Industries Inc. (NYSE: OXM)
Check back each morning before the opening bell for stocks to watch today with Opening Bell, here on Money & Markets.