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Stock futures point to a flat open following Wall Street’s roller-coaster session

U.S. stock futures were little changed in early Friday morning trade as investors continued to weigh the prospects of a potential coronavirus treatment.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures seesawed in and out of negative territory in premarket trading. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures also pointed to a flat open.

The major averages were taken for a wild ride during the regular session after The Financial Times reported — citing documents accidentally published by the World Health Organization — that Gilead Sciences’ drug remdesivir did not improve coronavirus patients’ condition. The documents cited by the FT referred to a Chinese clinical trial.

Gilead noted that study was “terminated early due to low enrollment,” leaving it “underpowered to enable statistically meaningful conclusions. As such, the study results are inconclusive.”


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The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite closed just below the flatline on Thursday while the Dow eked out a small gain. At their session highs, however, the averages were all up more than 1%.

To be sure, CNBC’s Jim Cramer raised doubt over the trial conducted in China, advising investors to wait for results from U.S. studies before disregarding the treatment.

“I say wait until the American studies come out,” Cramer said in a tweet. “University of Chicago study is a lot more rigorous. I would stick with that. You don’t have to believe it…but this is the third time the Chinese have said the drug doesn’t work.”

The coronavirus outbreak has dominated market sentiment for most of 2020 as investors grapple with its economic consequences.

More than 2.6 million cases have been confirmed worldwide, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. In the U.S., over 800,000 cases have been confirmed. However, a decline in new daily cases has boosted equities from their lows reached on March 23.

The major averages have rallied more than 25% since late March, with the S&P 500 retracing about half of its downside move from the all-time high set Feb. 19.

The news on remdesivir knocked the major averages from their session highs, but another sharp rebound in oil prices capped the decline in equities.

U.S. crude futures for June delivery surged 19.7% to settle at $16.50 per barrel amid increasing bets for a U.S. production cut. Thursday’s gains brought oil’s two-day gains to more than 40%.

Still, West Texas Intermediate remains down more than 70% for the year despite the strong back-to-back gains.

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US stock futures are flat as investors digest oil turbulence, await jobless claims

U.S. stock futures were nearly flat in early morning trade Thursday as investors took a breather after the turbulence of the prior three regular sessions.


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Dow Jones Industrial Average futures implied an opening drop of about 25 points. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures also pointed to a flat open.

The muted moves followed a bounce in U.S. equities during normal trading hours on Wednesday that helped pare the S&P 500′s 4.8% slide over Monday and Tuesday.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 456.94 points, or 1.99%, to 23,475.82 during Wednesday’s session. The S&P 500 gained 2.29% to 2,799.31 while the Nasdaq Composite closed 2.8% higher at 8,495.38.

20200422 SP500 looking for a bottom

Violent fluctuations in the price of oil have kept markets on edge this week as a slide in demand the result of the coronavirus and persistent oversupply keep pressure on crude.

Though West Texas Intermediate crude is down more than 70% from highs north of $60 per barrel earlier this year, its bounce on Wednesday pacified investors who worried that the futures contracts could fall back into negative territory as they did on Monday.

The contract for June delivery settled up 19% at $13.78 per barrel on Wednesday after President Donald Trump tweeted that he’d “instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea.”

WTI contract for May delivery plunged below zero to trade in negative territory on the first day of the week for the first time ever. A day later, the more actively traded June contract fell 43.37% to settle at $11.57. Brent and WTI crude futures were last seen trading up 8% and 3.7%, respectively.

U.S. traders will on Thursday digest the Labor Department’s latest report on jobless claims.

Another 4.3 million workers are expected to have filed for benefits last week, which would bring the total number seeking benefits to over 26 million since states started shutting down in the second half of March in an effort to slow the virus.

The number of cumulative claims rose to 22.025 million over four weeks prior, erasing nearly all of the 22.442 million jobs recovered since the Great Recession.

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US stock futures higher as Wall Street looks to rebound from two days of steep losses

U.S. stock futures pointed to gains at the open on Wednesday, following recent weakness in markets aggravated by oil’s massive decline.


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Dow futures implied a gain of about 350 points at the open. Futures for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq-100 also pointed to gains at the open.

The West Texas Intermediate contract for June, however, remained in negative territory as it fell around 1% to $11.46 per barrel.

Helping sentiment, Senate Republicans and Democrats on Tuesday passed a $484 billion coronavirus relief package that focused on small businesses, hospitals, and testing. The House could approve the bill as early as Thursday.

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On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost about 630 points, bringing its weekly decline to more than 1,000 points. The 30-stock index was dragged down by Merck, which lost 5.5%, and Boeing, which fell more than 5%.

The S&P 500 also experienced sharp declines, falling more than 3%. The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite dropped about 3.5%, its worst daily performance since April 1.

The market’s sell-off this week came beside massive losses in the oil market due to the evaporation of demand. Oil prices are tanking and spreading to more futures contracts, worrying investors about the deep economic damage being done by the coronavirus shutdowns.

“This week investors are realizing that even though the crisis could soon get better, the negative impacts of having an economy which is essentially shut down are magnifying at an alarming rate. With no demand even for a couple of months, energy prices go negative as excess oil supplies balloon,” Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at the Leuthold Group told CNBC.

The June contract for West Texas Intermediate, which is the more actively traded contract and therefore a better indication of how Wall Street views the price of oil, settled down 43.4% at $11.57 per barrel. On Monday, crude futures for May fell below zero for the first time in history.


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Investors also digested another batch of corporate earnings showing the economic fallout of the virus on Tuesday. Shares of IBM fell 3% after reporting a decline in revenue. Coca-Cola fell 2.5% as the beverage company said global volumes plunged 25% due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Netflix and Chipotle Mexican Grill both rose in extended trading following their quarterly earnings reports. Netflix reported global streaming net additions came in a 15.8 million, far higher than the 8.2 million expected. Netflix, which has rallied nearly 35% this year, is benefiting from the stay-at-home trend. Chipotle saw digital sales surge more than 80% as the revved-up online orders during the coronavirus shutdown.

Before the bell on Wednesday, Delta Air Lines, AT&T, and Biogen will report earnings.

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Dow futures point to 600-point drop at the open as historic sell-off in oil continues

Stock futures pointed to big losses for a second day on Tuesday as oil prices continued their unprecedented wipeout.

Futures on the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped more than 550 points and indicated a loss at the open of more than 600 points. S&P 500 futures lost 1.7%. Nasdaq futures also pointed to a lower open.

Traders were focused on the strange happenings with oil futures once again, which raised concern about deep losses for the energy industry hitting the U.S. economy even further. On Monday, the May contract for oil futures expiring Tuesday fell to zero and then went to an actual negative price, meaning producers would pay for someone to take the oil off their hands. The bizarre move has to do with the fact that because of the coroanvirus shutdowns, big buyers of oil like refineries don’t need any more oil because their tanks are nearly filled.

That May contract remained deep in negative price territory on Tuesday.


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More concerning to traders on Tuesday was the selling now occurring in later month contracts for oil futures. The more actively traded June oil contract was down nearly 20% to $16.44 Tuesday morning. That contract expires on May 19.

The United States Oil Fund, an exchange-traded security for the retail investors which buys oil futures, tanked 19% to just $3.02 in premarket trading.

Major oil stocks like Exxon Mobil were hit again in premarket trading. Exxon was down 4%.

Not helping sentiment were shares of IBM, which slipped 3.7% in premarket trading after the company reported a 3.4% decline in revenue in the first quarter from a year ago amid the spread of coronavirus. Coca-Cola, Netflix, and Chipotle are on deck to report earnings on Tuesday.

Stocks dropped on Monday to start another likely volatile week, with the Dow falling nearly 600 points, as an unprecedented plunge in oil prices weighed on investor sentiment.

Late Monday, President Donald Trump said he would sign an executive order to temporarily suspend immigration  to the United States to protect jobs “in light of the attack from the Invisible Enemy.” Millions of Americans have filed for unemployment benefits as the coronavirus pandemic shuts down economic activity in much of the country.

Trump’s tweet did not provide specifics on what the order would entail.


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Earlier Monday, the Senate failed to reach a deal on the next package to rescue an economy and health care system ravaged by the global pandemic. However, a vote is set up as soon as Tuesday afternoon to replenish a key small business aid program.

Investors continued to monitor the coronavirus pandemic and the country’s plan to reopen the economy. Signs have emerged that New York is past the worst of its outbreak. Georgia on Monday rolled out aggressive plans to reopen the state’s economy, calling for many businesses to reopen their doors as early as Friday.

Stocks enjoyed their first back-to-back weekly gains since early February as investors grew more optimistic that the pandemic is easing off. The S&P 500 is now about 17% from its record high on February 19, cutting about half of its losses during the coronavirus sell-off.

“Market volatility remains intense, as subtle changes in the tone of the news drives dramatic shifts in investor sentiment,” said Mark Hackett, Nationwide’s chief of investment research. “Markets rallied sharply last week on hope that the worst of the outbreak is behind us. This optimism is likely to face headwinds, as the reopening of the economy is heading for an intense debate.”

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Dow futures rally after Gilead coronavirus drug reportedly shows effectiveness

U.S. stock futures surged after a report said a Gilead Sciences drug showed effectiveness in treating the coronavirus. The move pointed to a jump for the stock market on Friday.

Dow Jones Industrial Average futures indicated an opening gain of about 625 points. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures also pointed to gains.

Gilead shares jumped more than 16% in after-hours trading after STAT news reported that a Chicago hospital treating coronavirus patients with remdesivir in a trial were recovering rapidly from severe symptoms. The publication cited a video it obtained where the trial results were discussed.


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“This is obviously good news. Of course, we’ve heard a few other pieces of good news like this recently and they didn’t pan-out as well as people had hoped,” said Matt Maley, chief market strategist at Miller Tabak, in an email. “The big question is whether it’s going to be enough to help the economy ‘re-open’ more quickly than people are thinking right now.”

“To me, the critical issue is employment,” Maley added. “If the economy can bounce back quickly enough to take the unemployment rate back into the low-single digits quickly, that’s going to be very bullish.”

Other studies have shown Remdesivir to be an effective treatment against the coronavirus. However, they have been smaller in scale.

“An effective treatment is a huge deal and would create a path to open the economy and resume normal ‘social activities’ way sooner than a vaccine,” said Tom Lee, head of research at Fundstrat Global Advisors. “A treatment is safer and more scalable because it is only given to people who need to be treated.”

Boeing shares also jumped about 7% after the airplane maker said it would resume production in the Seattle area as early as April 20.

Stocks tumbled from record highs in February into a bear market a month later as the spread of the coronavirus roiled market sentiment and the economic outlook.

More than 2 million cases have been confirmed worldwide, including over 650,000 in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University. Governments urged people to stay home, effectively shutting down the global economy.

However, the stock market has rallied since March 23 as new coronavirus cases in the U.S. and globally showed signs of plateauing. President Donald Trump said Thursday that “our experts say the curve has flattened and the peak … is behind us.” He also issued guidelines to open up parts of the U.S.

Since late March, the S&P 500 has jumped more than 25% while the Dow has gained 26.6% in that time. Stocks also got a boost after the Federal Reserve cut rates to zero and stabilized credit markets while Congress passed a stimulus plan.

To be sure, the outbreak has already dealt a massive blow to the economy. In four weeks, about 22 million Americans have lost their jobs. Retail sales posted last month their biggest fall on record.

Some investors have also said that news of an effective treatment or vaccine would be needed for stocks to mount a sustainable comeback.

“If it is effective in keeping someone from contracting the virus or, more likely, simply reduces its severity, that would be a game-changer and [would] allow the economy to restart both more quickly and more fully,” said Jim Paulsen, chief investment strategist at The Leuthold Group, about the Remdesivir trial report.

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