Stock futures wobbled mostly sideways on Thursday, though investors welcomed signs that infections and deaths from the coronavirus could be peaking, ahead of the last trading session before the Easter holiday.
Note: US exchanges will be closed on Friday to recognize Good Friday.
This enthusiasm will be tested today however, with US weekly jobless claims proving to be a stark reminder that the jobs market has suffered as lock-down measures place stringent restrictions on public life.
The S&P 500 (+3.36%) finished higher yesterday, as the street sorted through a fragmented picture of how and when the $90 trillion global economy can begin to reboot, if Covid-19 trends begin to hold steady.
Separately, oil prices (XLE: +6.67%) rose yesterday after Russia signalled its willingness to cut production in order to stabilize prices.
Ahead, today's economic calendar includes; Weekly Jobless Claims and the Producer Price Index for March at 8:30am EST as well as Consumer Expectations and Sentiment for April at 10am EST.
TODAY'S TOP HEADLINES
Coronavirus: Spain And Italy To Extend Lock-down. (Bloomberg)
Spain is poised to extend a nationwide lock-down and Italy is moving toward doing the same as Europe’s rising infection rate complicates plans to begin reversing stringent lock-down restrictions.
Today's Economical Announcements.
08:30AM - ★★☆ - Weekly Jobless Claims (Previous: 6,600,000)
08:30AM - ★★★ - PPI (Mar) (Previous: -0.6%)
10:00AM - ★★☆ - Michigan Consumer Expect. (Apr) (Previous: 79.7)
10:00AM - ★★☆ - Michigan Consumer Senti. (Apr) (Previous: 89.1)
STOCKS IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Pre-Market Movers & News Related Stocks.
Big Lots (BIG): [UPGRADE] Upgraded to “neutral” from “sell” at JPMorgan Chase, both on a valuation basis and on the easing of liquidity concerns.
Walt Disney (DIS): [NEWS] Said subscribership numbers for its Disney+ streaming service have now surpassed 50 million globally. The jump has been driven by global stay-at-home orders, as well as the introduction of the service in India where 8 million people have signed up.
Starbucks (SBUX): [NEWS] Said its fiscal second-quarter profit would likely drop by 47% due to the coronavirus impact, and that it was abandoning its full-year forecast. The coffee chain is also suspending its share buyback program, although it will continue to pay its dividend.
Costco (COST): [NEWS] Reported a 9.6% jump in March same-store sales, thanks in large part to virus-related stockpiling.
Nautilus (NLS): [NEWS] Is forecasting higher first-quarter sales, as stay-at-home orders boost demand for its exercise equipment.
Anthem (ANTM): [DOWNGRADE] Downgraded to “hold” from “buy” at Jefferies, which said a virus-induced recession will push more managed care organization members into the lower margin Medicaid category.
Visa (V), Mastercard (MA): [NEWS] Both had swipe fee increases in the works for months, according to The Wall Street Journal. The increases were planned before the COVID-19 pandemic, and the paper said it is unclear whether the fee hikes will be rolled out if the pandemic persists.
United Parcel Service (UPS): [DOWNGRADE] Downgraded to “neutral” from “buy” at UBS, citing a drop in business-to-business volume and an overall reduction in earnings.
BlackRock (BLK): [NEWS] Will not lay off any workers this year because of the coronavirus outbreak, according to CEO Larry Fink. He also said the world’s largest asset manager will give full-time pay to support staff even if they cannot come to work.
Zoom Video (ZM): [NEWS] The U.S. Senate has told members not to use Zoom’s conferencing app due to security concerns, according to the Financial Times. That follows Google’s move Wednesday to ban employees from using Zoom on their laptops.
Diageo (DEO): [GUIDANCE] Pulled its 2020 sales and profit forecast, and also suspended its $5.6 billion stock buyback program. However, the company did say it would pay its April dividend as planned.
UBS (UBS), Credit Suisse (CS): [DIVIDENDS] Will postpone part of their 2019 dividends, bowing to pressure from European regulators. The banks were the last two major banks to make such a move, arguing that their financial positions were strong enough to support dividend payouts.
Progressive (PGR): [NEWS] Is the latest auto insurer to announce refunds to customers due to a significant drop in driving. Progressive will be refunding about $1 billion, in the form of credits to April and May premiums. Allstate (ALL) and Berkshire Hathaway’s (BRKB) Geico unit had been among those previously announcing such moves.
Stitch Fix (SFIX): [GUIDANCE] Pulled its 2020 guidance due to increasing uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus impact. CEO Katrina Lake said the online styling service had anticipated the impact on its business, but not the extent to which its distribution centers would be disrupted.
GAINERS: THC, PCG, SEM, WWW, RDN, PVH
DECLINERS: HCAT, VIR
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