The Top Story
The S&P 500 is on track for its best month since 1974.
However, investors were cautious in premarket trading as jobless claims data could reveal another bad week for unemployment. Additionally, other numbers point to a U.S. economy poised for its sharpest contraction since the Great Recession.
The Federal Reserve pledged on Wednesday to expand emergency programs to revive growth but dashed hopes for a fast rebound, saying the economy could feel the weight of consumer fear and social distancing for a year.
It wasn’t all bad news in the stock market, though, as strong earnings reports from some of tech’s biggest names boosted the Nasdaq Composite in premarket trading.
Facebook Inc. (Nasdaq: FB) rose 8.6% after beating analysts’ estimates for first-quarter revenue and saying it had seen “signs of stability” for ad sales in April after a plunge in March.
Electric car maker Tesla Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) gained 8.5% after posting its third straight quarterly profit. The two remaining FAANG stocks — Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) will issue quarterly results after markets close.
Stocks to Watch Today
Twitter Inc. (NYSE: TWTR) — The social media company said its daily active users jumped 24%, helping its revenues climb by 2.7% in the first three months of 2020. The company did post a $0.01-per-share loss in earnings. Shares of Twitter were up 3.7% in premarket trading.
Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) — Shares of the technology giant rose 1.6% in premarket trading as the company reported a 22% increase in earnings per share and a 15% jump in overall revenues — both beating Wall Street projections.
Chesapeake Energy Corp. (NYSE: CHK) — The hydrocarbon exploration company is preparing to file for bankruptcy as it struggles with a historic drop in energy prices — particularly in oil. Shares of Chesapeake Energy were down 24.6%.
Macy’s, Best Buy to Start Slow Reopen
Macy’s Inc. (NYSE: M) plans to reopen 68 stores on Monday in states that have reduced restrictions, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Macy’s CEO Jeff Gennette said he hopes to have all of the company’s 775 stores opened in six weeks if state and local governments allow it.
Likewise, Best Buy Co. Inc. (NYSE: BBY) is hoping to open about 200 of its stores in May to people who make appointments for in-store consultations to buy appliances and electronics.
Europe’s Deep Recession Underway
Preliminary data published Thursday indicate the gross domestic product in the European Union contracted by 3.5% in the first quarter of 2020.
Economic output by EU countries dropped 3.8% during the same period, according to CNN Business. The EU statistics office said the latest figures represent “the sharpest decline since the time series started in 1995.”
The economic slump, like in the U.S., is expected to be worse in the second quarter due to the fact much of the EU has been in lockdown since March.
Tesla CEO Blasts Off on COVID-19 Closure of US Plant
In nearly the same breath he was discussing future uncertainty because of the coronavirus, Tesla Inc. (Nasdaq: TSLA) CEO Elon Musk railed on the forced shutdown of the company’s lone U.S. plant.
Musk called the forced shutdown of businesses, along with his own, tantamount to fascism, saying “this is not democratic … this is not freedom,” according to The Wall Street Journal.
What We’re Reading
The Bull & The Bear: The Economy Is in Recession, but What’s Next? (Money & Markets)
Shell Cuts Dividend For First Time Since World War II (CNN Business)
Here’s Why You Should Be In Gold Mining Stocks (Money & Markets)
Here are the companies releasing earnings reports today:
Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN)
Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL)
Church & Dwight Co. Inc. (NYSE: CHD)
Gilead Sciences Inc. (Nasdaq: GILD)
McDonald’s Corp. (NYSE: MCD)
Check back each morning before the opening bell for stocks to watch today with Opening Bell, here on Money & Markets.