Oil prices falling to their lowest level in 20 years and investors bracing for another round of horrendous first-quarter earnings pushed futures lower, plus stocks to watch today in the Money & Markets Opening Bell.
The Top Story
Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM) and Chevron Corp. (CVX) shed between 3.6% and 4.3% in premarket trading as crude prices fell to levels last seen in 1999 on oversupply concerns.
West Texas Intermediate crude dropped 29.4% to $12.89 per barrel while international benchmark Brent crude fell nearly 4% to $27 per barrel.
Wall Street’s main indexes have rallied this month, with the S&P 500 ending Friday with its biggest two-week percentage gain since 1974 on a raft of global stimulus and hopes the virus was nearing a peak in the United States.
The benchmark index is up 30% from its March drop but is still about 15% off its all-time high. Analysts have warned of a deep economic slump from the halt in business activity and millions of layoffs.
After U.S. banks kicked off the quarterly earnings season with painful forecasts for 2020, investors will take note of reports from Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL) on Monday — which beat Wall Street estimates — as well as Delta Air Lines Inc. (NYSE: DAL), Southwest Airlines Co. (NYSE: LUV) and Netflix Inc. (Nasdaq: NFLX) later in the week.
Surveys on April U.S. manufacturing are due on Thursday.
Stocks to Watch Today
Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) — The mass media and entertainment company said it was not going to pay 100,000 workers during the coronavirus lockdown in an attempt to save $500 million a month. Shares of Disney fell 2.8% in premarket trading.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NYSE: NCLH) — Shares of the cruise line were down 5.9% after news surfaced that the company has hired Goldman Sachs (NYSE: GS) to look at various financing alternatives, including a possible stake sale.
Wynn Resorts Ltd. (Nasdaq: WYNN) — Company CEO Matthew Maddox is calling for parts of the Las Vegas strip to open in the middle of May to help start Nevada’s economy. Shares of Wynn Resorts were down 2.5%.
Mnuchin, Democrats Close to $500 Million Virus Aid Deal
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said they were close to a new $500 billion virus aid package.
The deal would include more funding for a small business aid program that reached its limit last week and money for coronavirus testing and hospitals, according to Bloomberg.
A new package could add up to $310 million into the Paycheck Protection Program, designed to help small businesses keep workers on their payrolls. It would add $75 billion for hospitals and $25 billion for virus testing.
China’s Alibaba to Invest $28 Billion in Cloud Computing
Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Holding Group Holding Ltd. (NYSE: BABA) said it plans to invest more than $28 billion in its cloud computing division to compete with the likes of Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) and Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN).
The investment will focus on infrastructure and technologies related to operating systems, servers, chips and networks, according to CNBC (Pro tip: Check out our 3 cloud computing stocks to buy in 2020 here).
Coronavirus Crisis Prompts Calls to Suspend Lottery Gambling
An anti-gambling group is sending a letter to governors in 45 states and the District of Columbia calling for a suspension of lottery gambling until at least 30 days after stimulus payments are received.
The organization Stop Predatory Gambling plans to send the letter and hopes to include any jackpot drawings, scratch-off tickets and video lottery terminals, according to The Wall Street Journal.
What We’re Reading
Sizemore: Retirement Planning in the Middle of a Pandemic (Money & Markets)
60 Million Europeans Could Suffer Furloughs, Layoffs or Wage Cuts (CNN Business)
How to Protect Your Portfolio Against a Recession (Money & Markets)
Here are the companies releasing earnings reports today:
Ally Financial Inc. (NYSE: ALLY)
Great Southern Bancorp Inc. (Nasdaq: GSBC)
Halliburton Co. (NYSE: HAL)
IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)
Steel Dynamics Inc. (Nasdaq: STLD)
Check back each morning before the opening bell for stocks to watch today with Opening Bell, here on Money & Markets.