Stocks were set to rip higher to start the holiday-shortened week as a combination of positive headlines eased investor angst after last week’s abysmal March jobs numbers. Though the White House said this week’s COVID-19 deaths could be substantial, the administration struck a more optimistic tone at its press conference on Sunday. Here’s what’s happening:
8:22 am: Oil lower despite hints Russia and Saudi Arabia are ‘very close’ to deal
Oil prices dipped on Monday to reverse earlier gains seen after the CEO of Russian sovereign wealth fund RDIF told CNBC that Moscow and Riyadh were “very close” to a deal. “I think the whole market understands that this deal is important and it will bring lots of stability, so much important stability to the market, and we are very close,” Kirill Dmitriev of the Russian Direct Investment Fund told CNBC’s “Capital Connection” on Monday. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude fell 3% to trade at $27.44 per barrel, while international benchmark Brent crude dipped 2.6% to $33.21 per barrel. Earlier in the session, WTI fell more than 9% after a meeting between OPEC and its allies, initially scheduled for Monday, was delayed, stoking fears that a production cut might face hurdles. The meeting is now “likely” taking place on Thursday, according to sources familiar with the matter. — Stevens
8:15 am: Recuperating Art Cashin says the market is in for a long road to recovery
Market guru Art Cashin is making his way back to recovery after a bad car crash earlier this year. While he said he’s getting back to health, he thinks it will take a while before the markets and the economy can say the same. “This is enormous. We have never seen an instant recession like this. This is going to take a while to work out,” Cashin, the head of floor operations for UBS, tells CNBC’s Bob Pisani. Cashin also sees more trouble ahead for oil and says he understands why the New York Stock Exchange floor was closed but still believes it is a vital part of market operations. — Cox
8:09 am: Buybacks to fall 50% in 2020, Goldman Sachs says
Share repurchases by S&P 500 companies will fall by 50% to $371 billion this year, Goldman Sachs said in a note to clients. Many companies, including the country’s largest banks and airlines, have announced that they are suspending buybacks for at least the next quarter due to the coronavirus. Goldman added that the companies that have announced suspensions so far accounted for 27% of total buybacks last year. “Reduced demand from the principal buyer of shares during the past decade means wider trading ranges, less downside support, and slower EPS growth,” the note said. The note also projected dividends to decline by 25% this year. — Pound
7:52 am: Bill Ackman grows more confident about virus forecast
Hedge fund manager Bill Ackman, who said last month that “hell is coming” because of the COVID-19 pandemic, said in a series of tweets on Sunday that he is growing more optimistic about the public health situation. “While it is hard to be positive when we know that tens of thousands more will die and many more will get severely sick, I have no choice but to be more optimistic about the intermediate future based on the data and facts I have seen recently. I hope I am right,” Ackman wrote. The CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management said he believed that there is a very high number of people who have been infected with the virus and never known it, citing some preliminary data from one California city, which could mean the economy would be able to reopen sooner than expected. — Pound
7:30 am: Dow futures up 700 points, stocks to rally to start holiday-shortened week
U.S. stock futures pointed to gains of more than 3% at the start of trading on the holiday-shortened trading week. Futures contracts tied to the Dow Jones Industrial Average pointed to an opening rally of 800 points, more than 3.5%. S&P 500 an Nasdaq futures also pointed to jumps of nearly 4% by the opening bell. The expected rally to start the day Monday comes after the major stock indexes fell in the prior week after record-breaking unemployment numbers and a whopping payrolls decline of more than 700,000 for the month of March. — Franck
— CNBC’s Jeff Cox contributed reporting.
Subscribe to CNBC PRO for exclusive insights and analysis, and live business day programming from around the world.