1. Stocks to open higher as oil continues to rebound
A person walks at the Wall Street subway stop on April 23, 2020 in New York City.
Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images
Dow futures were pointing to about a 100-point gain at Friday’s open as U.S. oil prices extended their bounce back to four straight sessions. West Texas Intermediate crude, the American benchmark, collapsed Monday on concerns over demand and storage scarcity. The government on Friday said that orders for durable goods plunged 14.4% in March as the coronavirus economic halt took hold. Estimates had called for an 11.9% decline.
On Thursday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average‘s 400-point rally nearly evaporated on confusion over Gilead Sciences‘ remdesivir, a closely watched drug being testing against the coronavirus. Gilead took issue with a draft document accidentally published by the World Health Organization that showed disappointing results from a remdesivir clinical trial in China. Last week, health publication STAT News reported that Covid-19 patients in Chicago taking remdesivir as part of another clinical trial were recovering rapidly.
2. Dow stocks report earnings, citing virus impact
Three Dow components are out with earnings, starting with American Express, which reported better-than-expected adjusted quarterly profit of $1.98 per share. That excluded an increase in credit reserves to $2.6 billion from $809 million a year earlier. Revenue of $10.3 billion in Q1 fell short of forecasts. The company said customers accelerated their pullbacks in March. The stock was higher in the premarket.
Verizon beat estimates by 3 cents with adjusted quarterly earnings of $1.26 per share. Revenue of $31.6 billion in Q1 was below Wall Street expectations. The company cut its full-year outlook. Verizon said it had a strong start to 2020 prior to the pandemic, and that it expects to emerge from the crisis stronger. Shares were largely unchanged.
On Thursday, after the close, Intel reported adjusted first-quarter profit of $1.45 per share, beating estimates. Revenue of $19.8 billion in Q1 also exceeded forecasts. However, the chipmaker issued a disappointing second-quarter forecast, and said it would not give guidance for the full year due to uncertainties surrounding the pandemic. The stock was under pressure in Friday’s premarket trading, down more than 5%.
3. Georgia reopens some businesses, starting Friday
Diane Fall, owner of Maxim Barbers in Decatur, Georgia, told CNBC on Thursday said she is not planning to open her doors Friday, when her state lifts coronavirus-related restrictions for businesses like hers.
The nation will be watching in the coming days to see how Georgia’s aggressive plan to reopen parts of its economy unfolds. Tattoo parlors, gyms and hair salons can open Friday, with restaurants in the state allowed to serve dine-in meals and movie theaters permitted to sell tickets starting Monday. The Associated Press reports that President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in private conversations repeatedly approved Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s phase 1 reopening before health advisors changed Trump’s mind. In a reversal, the president first Wednesday and then on Thursday said he’s unhappy with Kemp’s plan.
4. Trump to sign small business, hospital relief bill
President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference in the White House in Washington, D.C., on Thursday, April 23, 2020.
Michael Reynolds | EPA | Bloomberg via Getty Images
The president on Friday plans to sign a $484 billion relief bill that funds aid programs for small businesses, and provides hospital grants and money for coronavirus testing. The legislation easily passed the House on Thursday after it got Senate approval earlier in the week. On Thursday evening, Trump said, at the White House’s daily coronavirus briefing, that he may extend national social distancing guidelines until early in the summer or later. Trump’s remarks came a day after multiple White House officials acknowledged the U.S. would likely still be dealing with the coronavirus by the fall and winter when the flu season kicks up.
5. Antibody study indicates 2.7 million New York infections
An estimated 13.9% of New Yorkers likely have had Covid-19, according to preliminary results of coronavirus antibody testing released by Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo. With more than 19.4 million residents, the preliminary results indicate that at least 2.7 million New Yorkers have been infected. Actual reported cases in New York are a fraction of that, at almost 264,000 with 20,982 deaths, translating into a nearly 8% mortality rate.
Cuomo said Thursday that antibody test indications of 2.7 million state infections would put the death rate at less than 1%. That happens to be the same number as confirmed cases worldwide. Globally, at least 191,613 people died from the virus. The U.S. has the most cases of any country, with nearly 870,000 infections and 49,963 deaths.