U.S. index futures are rallying this morning despite more than 6 million new unemployment claims being reported last week, plus stocks to watch today in the Money & Markets Opening Bell.

The Top Story

More than 6 million Americans filed for unemployment last week, while oil prices surge on hopes of potentially historic oil production cuts.

All of that led to markets opening higher.

The number of initial jobless claims surged to more than 15 million in the past three weeks, even with figures for the week ending April 4 likely slipping to a seasonally adjusted 5.25 million, according to a Reuters poll of economists.

The number of unemployment claims was higher than the 5 million analysts expected. Estimates in the survey were as high as 9.295 million. The total will build on the two prior readings of 6.6 million and 3.3 million.

The Wednesday Rally: Wall Street jumped on Wednesday on early signs the coronavirus outbreak in U.S. hot spots was close to peaking, with the Dow Jones and S&P 500 ending more than 3.4% higher.

Wednesday’s rally put both the Dow and the S&P 500 up more than 10% for the week while the Nasdaq Composite was 9.7% higher.

Where things stand now: As of 9:20 a.m. EDT, Dow Jones futures were up 1.9%. S&P 500 futures were 1.5% higher while Nasdaq Composite futures were up 1.2%.

Exxon Mobil Corp. (NYSE: XOM), Chevron Corp. (NYSE: CVX), Marathon Oil Corp. (NYSE: MRO) and Apache Corp. (NYSE: APA) rose between 1.5% and 16% in premarket trading ahead of a meeting of the world’s biggest oil producers to discuss production cuts.

In other news, stock markets are closed Friday in observance of Good Friday, so there will be no Opening Bell piece in the morning.

Stocks to Watch Today

Starbucks Corp. (Nasdaq: SBUX) — The American coffee company said its Q2 profits will likely drop by 47% due to the impacts of the coronavirus. It also abandoned its full-year forecast and suspended its share buyback program. It did say it will  continue to pay a dividend. Shares of Starbucks were down 3.1%.

Costco Wholesale Corp. (Nasdaq: COST) — Shares of the wholesale retailer fell 3.1% after it reported a 12.1% increase in sales in March. The problem is that was only half of what Wall Street analysts expected. Limits on customer traffic, store hours and department closures were factors in the sales miss.

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. (NYSE: AMC) — The American movie theater chain was downgraded to “sell” by Loop Capital as analysts fear the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic could push AMC to potential bankruptcy. Shares of AMC were down 7.5%.

OPEC and Allies to Discuss Oil Production Cuts

Several of the world’s largest oil producers will hold an emergency meeting this morning to discuss potentially historic cuts in oil production.

OPEC and its partners plan to hold a teleconference at 10 a.m. EDT to talk about slashing oil production as the coronavirus craters demand.

U.S. President Donald Trump has stoked hope by suggesting OPEC nations should agree to cut production by 10 million to 15 million barrels a day.

Small Businesses Could Face Additional Challenges: Higher Card Fees

In addition to battling issues created by the coronavirus, small businesses could have another struggle once COVID-19 subsides: higher credit card fees.

According to The Wall Street Journal, Visa Inc. (NYSE: V) and Mastercard Inc. (NYSE: MA) already planned to raise the swipe fees on merchants, but it will be particularly hard on small businesses recovering from the sting of the pandemic.

Dick’s Sporting Goods Furloughing Most Employees

As Americans are forced to stay inside amid the coronavirus spread, retailer Dicks Sporting Goods Inc. (NYSE: DKS) is struggling.

The company said it is furloughing a majority of its 40,000 employees beginning Sunday and that it’s “increasingly evident” its 800-plus stores won’t reopen anytime soon.

What We’re Reading

Why Bitcoin is Poised for a Big Price Explosion (Money & Markets)

From Stable Jobs a Month Ago to Wanting to Work for Amazon (The Wall Street Journal)

The Fed Crashed Stocks. Now They’re Fixing Their Mistake (Money & Markets)

Earnings Report

Here are the companies releasing earnings reports today:

Conn’s Inc. (Nasdaq: CONN)

PAVmed Inc. (Nasdaq: PAVM)

SemiLEDs Corp. (Nasdaq: LEDS)

Shaw Communications Inc. (NYSE: SJR)

WD-40 Co. (Nasdaq: WDFC)

Check back each morning before the opening bell for stocks to watch today with Opening Bell, here on Money & Markets