U.S. markets are set to open in the red once again despite some positive developments around the world concerning the coronavirus outbreak, plus stocks to watch today in the Money & Markets Opening Bell.
The Top Story
All three major U.S. indexes were pointing to another negative open as markets remained volatile overnight.
Futures popped Wednesday evening after the European Central Bank announced the Pandemic Emergency Purchase Program, a massive stimulus package that will inject €750 billion ($819 billion) into European securities as a way to bolster the EU economy. The U.S. Federal Reserve took similar action earlier this month, promising $1 trillion in purchases.
“The ECB will ensure that all sectors of the economy can benefit from supportive financing conditions that enable them to absorb this shock,” an ECB press release said. “This applies equally to families, firms, banks, and governments.”
However, the positive gains couldn’t be sustained, as futures once again dipped into the red before the opening bell Thursday.
In other coronavirus relief news, U.S. President Donald Trump signed a $100 billion aid package after the Senate approved the bill Wednesday afternoon. The bill includes provisions for emergency sick leave, more unemployment insurance and free testing for the COVID-19 virus.
Trump has floated a more all-encompassing $850 billion to $1 trillion stimulus package that is still being debated in Congress.
Stocks to Watch Today
Walmart Inc. (NYSE: WMT) — The retail giant has had its best month since 2014, rising more than 13% as consumers stock up for potential quarantine. Shares were down 1.2% in premarket trading.
General Electric Co. (NYSE: GE) — The healthcare division of GE is ramping up production of ventilators amid the coronavirus outbreak. Shares were trading 1.8% lower before the opening bell.
Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: REGN) — Shares of the drug company that is developing a COVID-19 vaccine were up 2% in premarket trading. The company announced it has identified antibodies that could be used to treat the virus.
News You Can Use
China is gearing up to pump trillions of yuan into its economy in an effort to revive a system that has been hammered by COVID-19 after the virus originated in the country’s Wuhan province late last year.
Beijing is looking at 2.8 trillion yuan ($394 billion) in infrastructure investment through purchasing local government special bonds, according to Reuters. China may also trim its 2020 GDP projection from 6% to 5% after months of weak economic growth during the height of the outbreak.
Oil Jumps After Three Day Slump
Oil prices were up 7% Thursday morning after suffering three straight days of massive sell-offs that sent prices to 20-year lows as demand has plummeted amid an ongoing oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia.
Brent crude, which had lost half its value in less than two weeks, was up 5.7% around 6:45 a.m. EDT, while U.S. crude rocketed up 11.8%.
UK Bracing for London Lockdown
The United Kingdom was ramping up efforts to curb the spread of the coronavirus in London as Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced closures of up to 40 underground train stations.
Johnson said his government is considering tougher measures after closing all schools Wednesday.
What We’re Reading
3 Ways the Coronavirus Could Hammer Boomers’ Retirement (Money & Markets)
Work-From-Home Stocks to Buy Amid the Coronavirus Outbreak (Money & Markets)
These 3 Charts Show This Isn’t an ‘Average’ Bear Market (Barron’s)
Here are the companies releasing earnings reports today:
Accenture PLC (NYSE: ACN)
Cintas Corp. (Nasdaq: CTAS)
Lennar Corp. (NYSE: LEN)
Ollie’s Bargain Outlet Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: OLLI)
Scholastic Corp. (Nasdaq: SCHL)
Check back each morning before the opening bell for stocks to watch today with Opening Bell, here on Money & Markets.