Oil jump lifts Wall Street as jobless claims data surges

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks rallied on Thursday as hopes for a truce in the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia and a cut in oil output drove gains, taking some sting out of a shocking jump in Americans filing jobless claims due to coronavirus-led lockdowns.

The S&P energy index .SPNY, down by more than 50% this year due to the Russia-Saudi price war and coronavirus-driven demand worries that has caused oil prices to plunge, climbed 9.08%.

Saudi Arabia has called for an emergency meeting of oil producers, while U.S. President Donald Trump said he expected the kingdom and Russia to cut output by as much as 10 million to 15 million barrels a day. That helped U.S. crude CLc1 futures settle up 24.7%, and Brent up 21.5%, their biggest daily percentage gains on record.

Still, major averages waded into negative territory multiple times before a late rally pushed stocks higher to close near session highs.

“It got beaten up so badly, you don’t rally like this unless it was many people thinking this got overdone,” said JJ Kinahan, chief market strategist at TD Ameritrade in Chicago.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI rose 469.93 points, or 2.24%, to 21,413.44, the S&P 500 .SPX gained 56.4 points, or 2.28%, to 2,526.9 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC added 126.73 points, or 1.72%, to 7,487.31.

The list of top gainers on the benchmark S&P 500 was littered with oil companies. Occidental Petroleum (OXY.N) surged 18.90%, with names such as Apache Corp (APA.N) and Halliburton (HAL.N) also seeing double-digit percentage gains.

A bump in prices may still not be enough to save some of the debt-laden U.S. shale companies that are on the brink of bankruptcy as demand continues to plunge due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Analysts foresee a further decline in U.S. stocks as country-wide shutdowns to limit the spread of the virus result in a virtual halt in business activity and force companies to lay off employees and save cash.

Boeing Co (BA.N), once a symbol of America’s industrial might, has offered buyout and early retirement packages to employees, sending its shares down 5.68%.

Investors continue to absorb a wave of bad economic news that will continue to paint a grim picture. Initial claims for unemployment benefits last week rose to 6.65 million, exceeding the top end of economists’ estimates at 5.25 million.

“Overall this is a little bit of a victory in and of the fact that it was such a bad number and the market did kind of shake it off. It is also the market preparing for a lot more bad numbers,” said Kinahan.

As earnings season slowly begins to get underway, Walgreens (WBA.O) fell 6.30% after the drugstore retailer reported a steep decline in U.S same-store sales in the last week of March. [L4N2BQ32Z]

Advancing issues outnumbered declining ones on the NYSE by a 1.61-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 1.34-to-1 ratio favored advancers.

The S&P 500 posted no new 52-week highs and 20 new lows; the Nasdaq Composite recorded 6 new highs and 132 new lows.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 12.64 billion shares, compared with the 15.87 billion average for the full session over the last 20 trading days.

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Dow falls 600 points to start second quarter as virus anxiety grows

(Reuters) – The Dow Jones fell 600 points on Wednesday as investors fled to safe-haven assets after new orders for U.S.-made goods plunged to an 11-year low and the White House issued a dire warning on the U.S. death toll from the coronavirus pandemic.

The blue-chip Dow and the S&P 500 were set to extend losses entering into the second quarter, as efforts to contain the outbreak resulted in deserted shopping streets, massive staff furloughs and a halt in business activity.

Meanwhile, the collapse in oil prices brought about its first major casualty, with shale producer Whiting Petroleum (WLL.N) filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Its shares nearly halved in value.

Companies on the benchmark index have lost about $6.3 trillion in market value so far this year, even as major governments and central banks have announced trillions of dollars in measures to thwart a global recession.

Goldman Sachs now expects sequential real U.S. GDP to plummet 34% in the second quarter on an annualized basis.

“People are concerned with the economic reality of both the depth as well as the duration of what this episode will be for the global economy,” said Eric Freedman, chief investment officer at U.S. Bank Wealth Management in North Carolina.

“There is room for further downside and we are still advocating for caution.”

The rush to safer assets pushed longer-term yields on U.S. Treasuries lower, putting pressure on interest-sensitive bank stocks .SPXBK, which fell 6.4%. The financials sector was the biggest drag on the S&P 500. [US/]

Consumer staples .SPLRCS stocks, utilities .SPLRCU and real estate .SPLRCR, which are considered stable during times of extreme volatility, also fell between 1% and 7%.

With the quarterly reporting season set to begin in two weeks, S&P 500 companies are expected to enter an earnings recession in 2020, falling 3.7% in the first quarter and 9.6% in the second.

However, some analysts expressed optimism.

“This will take some time to overcome, but markets will rise in the second quarter on expectations of economic data sharply improving in the second half of 2020,” said Barry Bannister, head of institutional equity strategy at Stifel Financial in Baltimore.

At 11:36 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was down 575.69 points, or 2.63%, at 21,341.47, the S&P 500 .SPX was down 76.78 points, or 2.97%, at 2,507.81 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was down 180.05 points, or 2.34%, at 7,520.05.

The energy sector .SPNY shed another 3.6%, with experts now saying oil prices could touch single digits, exacerbated by a share tussle among top producers as the world runs out of storage space.

Declining issues outnumbered advancers for a 7.88-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 4.78-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded one new 52-week high and nine new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded six new highs and 41 new lows.

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Wall St. gains as U.S. extends shutdown to limit virus spread

(Reuters) – U.S. stocks rose on Monday as President Donald Trump followed last week’s massive fiscal stimulus package by extending his stay-at-home guidelines, leaving investors hopeful the economic impact of the coronavirus could still be contained. A record $2.2 trillion in aid and policy easing from the Federal Reserve helped equities recover some of their losses last week, with the S&P 500 .SPX posting its biggest weekly percentage gain in over a decade and the Dow Jones .DJI its best since 1938.

That is convincing few that the worst of the most dramatic sell-off in a decade is over, and Wall Street’s fear gauge , which predicts future volatility, is still running as high as it has been since the 2008 financial crisis.

However, the prospect of more government stimulus has given investors something to hold on to as they wait for signs of economic relief from the pandemic. All three main indexes rose by more than 2% on Monday.

“It’s a positive that precautionary measures are being extended,” said Peter Cardillo, chief market economist at Spartan Capital Securities in New York.

“The market is probably somewhat relieved over that because at least we’ll be able to see, from the virus perspective, when we can reach a point of being able to get back into growth mode.”

Even taking last week’s bounce into account, the severity of the spread of the virus and the likelihood of a deep global recession have so-far knocked $7 trillion off the value of S&P 500 companies.

The volatility has been extraordinary and sustained, with the Dow gaining nearly 2,000 points in one session, only to fall almost 3,000 points the next day.

“Until we’ve got some evidence that can help deal with the virus, it’s probably more choppy markets ahead,” said Noah Hamman, chief executive office of AdvisorShares in Bethesda, Maryland.

JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) said on Saturday it expected real U.S. gross domestic product (GDP) to fall 10% in the first quarter and plunge 25% in the second quarter.

All of the major S&P sectors, however, were higher with technology stocks .SPLRCT providing the biggest boost.

The healthcare sector .SPXHC was the second-biggest support to the benchmark index as progress on coronavirus vaccines and tests being developed by Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) and Abbott Laboratories (ABT.N) lifted their shares by about 6.7% and 7.3%, respectively.

At 11:23 a.m. ET the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 444.16 points, or 2.05%, at 22,080.94, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 57.74 points, or 2.27%, at 2,599.21 and the Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 198.16 points, or 2.64%, at 7,700.54.

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd (NCLH.N), Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (RCL.N) and Carnival Corp (CCL.N) were the top decliners after Berenberg slashed its price targets on cruise operators by about a third.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 1.12-to-1 ratio on the NYSE and a 1.51-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded one new 52-week high and two new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded five new highs and 19 new lows.

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Wall Street tumbles as U.S. virus cases pass 100,000

(Reuters) – Wall Street stocks tumbled on Friday, ending a massive three-day surge after doubts about the fate of the U.S. economy resurfaced and the number of coronavirus cases in the country climbed.

U.S. stocks deepened their losses late in the session, even after the House of Representatives approved a $2.2 trillion aid package – the largest in American history – to help people and companies cope with an economic downturn caused by the coronavirus outbreak and provide hospitals with urgently needed medical supplies.

The United States has surpassed China and Italy as the country with the most coronavirus cases. The number of U.S. cases passed 100,000, and the death toll exceeded 1,500.

“We have still not fully understood the degree of the economic impact,” warned Massud Ghaussy, senior analyst at Nasdaq IR Intelligence in New York.

“Currently, from a policymaker’s perspective, it’s a relative balance between managing the spread of the virus and opening the economy.”

After the market closed, President Donald Trump signed the stimulus package into law.

The bill, along with unprecedented policy easing by the Federal Reserve, helped the S&P 500 .SPX surge 10.2% for the week, its best week since 2009. But the U.S. stock market benchmark is still down about 25% from its February high.

In its strongest three-day performance since 1931, the Dow surged 21% in three straight days through Thursday, establishing it in a bull market, according to one widely used definition. Even after Friday’s drop, the Dow ended 12.8% higher, its best week since 1938.

Many investors see a strong risk the market could fall deeply again as coronavirus infections increase and more people die, however.

“Next week will depend on what happens over the weekend,” said Lindsey Bell, chief investment strategist at Ally Invest. “If there is a major acceleration over the weekend of coronavirus cases in New York and other states and the hospital system continues to get jammed up, then I think it will be a rough week for the market.”

Macroeconomic indicators offered a glimpse of the economic devastation from the crisis as the lockdown of major cities upends the lives of millions of Americans.

U.S. consumer sentiment dropped to a near 3-1/2-year low in March, according to a survey released on Friday, a day after data showed a record 3 million surge in jobless claims last week.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI slumped 4.06% to end at 21,636.78 points, while the S&P 500 .SPX lost 3.37% to 2,541.47.

The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC dropped 3.79% to 7,502.38.

Volume on U.S. exchanges was 13.4 billion shares, its lowest since March 5, according to Refinitiv data.

Delta Airlines (DAL.N), American Airlines (AAL.O) and United Airlines (UAL.O) fell between 6% and 11% as U.S. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said the help designated for airlines in the aid package was not a bailout and that taxpayers would need to be compensated.

Boeing Co (BA.N) slumped 10%, but was still up more than 70% for the week, after Mnuchin said the planemaker had no intention of using federal money.

The banking index .SPXBK fell 4.6%, tracking U.S. Treasury yields as investors sought safety in high-quality assets.

The energy index .SPNY was the biggest percentage loser among the 11 major S&P sectors, sliding 6.9%, following a drop in oil prices.

Declining issues outnumbered advancing ones on the NYSE by a 3.17-to-1 ratio; on Nasdaq, a 2.98-to-1 ratio favored decliners.

The S&P 500 posted one new 52-week high and one new low; the Nasdaq Composite recorded nine new highs and 39 new lows.

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Pompeo says his visit to Afghanistan was 'very frustrating'

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday he was frustrated after a daylong visit to Afghanistan this week in which he failed to mediate an end to a leadership feud between President Ashraf Ghani and political rival Abdullah Abdullah.

“I’ll be honest, it was very frustrating,” Pompeo said at a State Department news briefing. However, he said efforts would continue to convince all the parties in the conflict to embrace peace and reconciliation and that he remained optimistic about the prospects for intra-Afghan peace talks.

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Futures slide again as coronavirus raises contraction fears

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures tumbled on Monday on fears of economic damage from a growing number of national lockdowns to contain the coronavirus pandemic, with Goldman Sachs estimating a 24% plunge in U.S. real GDP in the second quarter.

At 05:15 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were down 694 points, or 3.64%, S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were down 77.5 points, or 3.39% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were down 194.25 points, or 2.79%.

SPDR S&P 500 ETFs (SPY.P) were down 3.17%.

The S&P 500 index .SPX closed down 4.34% at 2,304.92​ on Friday.

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Wall Street set for gains at end of blistering week

(Reuters) – All three main U.S. stock indexes were on course to open higher on Friday in what is still the market’s worst month in three decades, as intervention by U.S. policymakers finally seemed to stem the bleeding on Wall Street.

Airlines including United Airlines Holdings (UAL.O), Delta Air Lines Inc (DAL.N) and Wynn Resorts (WYNN.O) rose between 9% and 11% premarket, leading the charge in a sector that has lost more than half its value in the rout.

Technology-focused heavyweights Microsoft (MSFT.O), Intel (INTC.O) also firmed 3% with Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 rising 2.7% at 7,474.5, briefly hitting a daily upper trading limit of 7,629.

A raft of additional monetary measures by the U.S. central bank, allied to signs of progress on agreeing extra government spending, propped up the three main stock indexes on Thursday.

Investors are counting on further policy easing in the next few days as the Senate mulls a $1 trillion package that would include direct financial help for Americans.

“It’s the effect of both central banks and governments signaling that they’re willing to do whatever it takes,” said Teeuwe Mevissen, senior market economist at Rabobank.

“But in general, I don’t think these movements signal that the worst is over and that we are going to get back to normal anytime soon.”

Fears of the severity of the outbreak have spooked investors over the past month, with the S&P 500 losing nearly 30% – or more than $8 trillion – in value since hitting a record closing high on Feb. 19.

Boeing Co (BA.N), down 70% since the start of the year as an almost total halt in air travel added to its 737 MAX woes, rose 1.6%.

Shares of drugmaker (MYL.O) soared 13% after it restarted production of its malaria drug in the United States to meet increased demand, driven by its potential to treat COVID-19.

Shares of U.S. banks including Bank of America Corp (BAC.N), Citigroup Inc (C.N), JPMorgan Chase & Co (JPM.N) rose more than 2%. Bank stocks .SPXBK, however, were still headed for their fifth weekly decline as investors eyed a future likely to include widespread loan defaults.

Oil majors Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) and Chevron Corp (CVX.N) rose more than 7% as oil prices rebounded.

At 08:30 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 rose 1.55% and S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were up 0.99%.

SPDR S&P 500 ETFs (SPY.P) were up 0.45%

The gains will still be marginal compared with steep losses for Wall Street in the past four weeks as the rapid spread of COVID-19 shuts down large cities and upends business activity.

California became the latest state to issue an unprecedented statewide “stay at home” order as the number of U.S. coronavirus deaths hit 200.

A Reuters poll of economists suggested the global economy was already in recession.

Markets also face a “quadruple witching” on Friday, where investors unwind positions in futures and options contracts before their expiration.

(This story corrects to remove reference to Markit PMI data in paragraph 17)

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Wall Street turns higher as Trump promises cures, cash

(Reuters) – Wall Street pushed into positive territory on Thursday as policymakers pulled out all the stops to try and stave off a deep and lasting coronavirus-driven recession and its damaging fallout on corporate America.

President Trump, in a now regular update for Americans hunkered down in their homes, said there were therapies that he believed could be rolled out quickly, and sounded upbeat on the chances of agreeing hundreds of billions of dollars of aid with Congress.

In its latest move to stabilize panicked markets, the U.S. Federal Reserve also opened swap lines with central banks in nine new countries to ensure the world’s dollar-dependent financial system continued to function.

That was the latest in a host of emergency actions taken by the U.S. central bank over the last two weeks, including cutting borrowing costs to near zero and providing billions more for cheap credit.

Ford Motor Co (F.N) was the latest major U.S. corporation to bolster its cash reserves to ride out the virus impact, drawing down more than $15 billion from existing credit lines.

“We have had some pretty bold moves by the Fed in the last week or two and most of them have had a very short-lived impact on the market so hopefully this one will help,” said Randy Frederick, vice president of trading and derivatives at Charles Schwab in Austin, Texas.

“It speaks also to the fact that when they cut rates to zero a lot of people had commented that they thought maybe the Fed is out of bullets if you will, but it doesn’t seem to be the case. It sounds like they have lots of tools still available to them and this is just another one of them.”

The gains remained small compared to the almost one third collapse in the value of the S&P in the past month. The Nasdaq, led by gains for Microsoft (MSFT.O), Amazon.com (AMZN.O) and Facebook (FB.O) rose 3.5%.

The S&P airlines index, down roughly 60% this year, inched up 0.4% .SPCOMAIR. Hotel operator Marriott International Inc (MAR.O) pulled its 2020 financial outlook, but its shares rose more than 8%.

Accenture Plc (ACN.N) cut its full-year revenue and earnings outlook, citing an impact from the coronavirus outbreak. However, its shares also rose 8%.

Wall Street’s worst selloff since the 2008 sub-prime crisis has deepened this week and the Dow erased the last of its gains under Donald Trump’s presidency on Wednesday.

Official data showed the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits surged to 2-1/2-year high last week as companies in the services sector laid off workers because of the coronavirus pandemic that has fractured economic activity.

New York Stock Exchange-owner Intercontinental Exchange Inc (ICE.N) said the market would temporarily close its trading floors and move fully to electronic trading starting next week.

At 11:55 a.m. ET, the Dow Jones Industrial Average .DJI was up 399.59 points, or 2.01%, at 20,298.51, the S&P 500 .SPX was up 48.42 points, or 2.02%, at 2,446.52. The Nasdaq Composite .IXIC was up 247.43 points, or 3.54%, at 7,237.27.

Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 2.37-to-1 ratio on the NYSE. Advancing issues outnumbered decliners by a 3.28-to-1 ratio on the Nasdaq.

The S&P index recorded 3 new 52-week highs and 85 new lows, while the Nasdaq recorded 10 new highs and 477 new lows.

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Futures fall again as recession fears rage on

(Reuters) – U.S. stock index futures fell for the third time this week on Thursday as sweeping emergency action from policymakers across the globe failed to convince panic-stricken equity markets that a coronavirus-driven global recession could be averted.

The meltdown in global markets, which has brought back memories of the 2008 financial crisis, has pushed Wall Street’s three main indexes down about 30% from their record closing highs last month and erased the Dow Jones Industrials’ .DJI gains since the President Donald Trump’s 2017 inauguration.

At 06:20 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were down 411 points, or 2.06%, S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were down 47.25 points, or 1.97% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were down 66.5 points, or 0.92%.

SPDR S&P 500 ETFs (SPY.P) were down 1.17%. The S&P 500 index .SPX closed down 5.18% at 2,398.1​ on Wednesday.

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