Stock market news live: Wall Street extends relief rally, crude settles at 18-year low

Stocks rose Monday, extending last week’s bounce as market participants continued tracking the spread of the coronavirus and the daily life disruptions it has invoked around the world. U.S. Treasury yields tumbled further, and crude oil prices dropped to the lowest level since 2002.

On Sunday, President Donald Trump said during a news conference that he was extending guidelines for citizens to remain socially distanced through April 30. Earlier, Trump had sought to reopen businesses by Easter in mid-April.

[Click here to read what’s moving markets heading into Tuesday, March 31]

Other countries also recently extended their timelines for when restrictions aimed at containing the coronavirus outbreak would ease. UK government officials said they believed the country’s lockdown, now in its second week, could last for up to six months. And Japan is reportedly poised to ban entry to foreigners who recently traveled to the U.S., Canada, South Korea and most of Europe, regional news outlets reported Monday.

Cases of the coronavirus climbed further over the weekend, topping 770,000 globally as of Monday afternoon, according to Johns Hopkins data. The number of cases in the U.S. rose above 156,000, along with more than 2,000 deaths.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said during a CNN interview Sunday that he believed the virus could claim the lives of as many as 200,000 Americans amid “millions of cases,” noting that the estimates remain “a moving target.”

New York remains an epicenter for the outbreak, with the number of confirmed cases jumping by more than 6,900 to 66,497 as of Monday afternoon.

Over the weekend, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control issued a domestic travel advisory urging New York, New Jersey and Connecticut residents to refrain from non-essential domestic travel for 14 days, in effort to prevent the coronavirus from spreading from hot spots to areas of the country where health-care infrastructure may be less capable of handling an influx in cases. The Trump administration, however, stopped short of issuing an order for an enforceable quarantine for the New York City and tristate area, as had reportedly been mulled in earlier discussions.

Coronavirus pandemic.

Volatility continues to grip financial markets as the pandemic rages on, sending stocks whirring higher and then crashing down as investors weigh the toll from the virus against policymakers’ frantic efforts to contain the fallout. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said on “Fox News Sunday” he expects the U.S. administration will have a small business loan program implemented this week, and that workers can expect their direct checks from the $2 trillion stimulus package signed by President Donald Trump on Friday in about three weeks.

Despite Friday’s single-session decline of more than 4%, the Dow netted a 12.8% gain last week for its best one-week advance since 1938.

A number of analysts have predicted that a quelling of financial market volatility will require evidence of a reduction in the number of new coronavirus cases, and signals that business for industries forced to pare back or halt operations amid virus containment efforts has resumed.

In a note over the weekend, Goldman Sachs analysts led by Peter Oppenheimer highlighted four occurrences they believed would need to take place for market stabilization: “[First], a sign that the policy intervention is sufficient to prevent severe second- and third-round economic shocks; a sign that the infection rate is reaching a peak; a sign that the economic downturn may be slowing; and cheap valuations,” they wrote.

“In reality, we believe it will be a combination of these, and in some cases there are already signs these are in place,” they said.

4:02 p.m. ET: Dow rises 690 points as Wall Street extends rebound rally

Here were the main moves in markets as of 4:02 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +85.15 (+3.35%) to 2,626.62

  • Dow (^DJI): +690.70 (+3.19%) to 22,327.48

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +271.77 (+3.62%) to 7,774.15

  • Crude (CL=F): -$1.25 (-5.81%) to $20.26 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$15.50 (-0.94%) to $1,638.60 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): -7.9 bps to yield 0.6700%

2:40 p.m. ET: U.S. crude oil prices settle at an 18-year low

West Texas intermediate crude oil prices dropped 6.6% to settle $20.09 per barrel on Monday, extending a months-long decline for the commodity as an oil price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia compounded with a demand shock from the coronavirus outbreak. The price marked the lowest since February 2002.

Earlier during the session, domestic crude oil prices had fallen below $20 per barrel.

Brent crude oil, the international standard, dropped 8.5% to $22.81 per barrel as of 2:29 p.m. ET.

The Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies will see production cuts expire on April 1, allowing members to pump more oil into an already clogged market. Saudi Arabia has vowed to boost its production to record levels.

12:19 p.m. ET: Stocks extend gains

The three major indices marched higher midday during Monday’s session, with each of the S&P 500, Dow and Nasdaq up more than 2%.

Gains in the S&P 500 were led by the Information Tech and Health-Care sectors. Johnson & Johnson led advances in the Dow, after the drugmaker announced it planned to start human testing a coronavirus vaccine by September.

Here were the main moves in the markets, as of 12:18 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +57.73 points (+2.27%) to 2,599.2

  • Dow (^DJI): +479.47 points (+2.22%) to 22,116.25

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +203.16 points (+2.72%) to 7,708.52

  • Crude (CL=F): -$1.25 (-5.81%) to $20.26 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$12.00 (-0.73%) to $1,642.10 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): -10.9 bps to yield 0.638%

11:50 a.m. ET: It is ‘foolish’ to try and call a market bottom now, strategist says

As the coronavirus outbreak continues to produce new cases, investors should expect volatility in equity markets to continue, said Victoria Fernandez, chief market strategist at Crossmark Global Investments.

“I think it’s foolish for someone to come out and start trying to determine where the bottom is going to be,” Fernandez said during Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade on Monday. “I don’t think that’s a wise decision at this point.”

“Many people are saying you’re going to have this V-shaped recovery. They think last week, or the week before when we hit those lows, that was going to be the bottom, that was the tactical bottom to allow people to start coming into the market and adding to their positions,” she said.

“We agree with that concept. Start adding things here and there in your portfolio. But we definitely don’t think we’re in a V-shaped recovery,” Fernandez added. “We think we’re more in a W-shaped recovery and we’re going to have more tests of that bottom coming, so I would be careful on calling the bottom at this point in time.”

Fernandez said her firm is adding to existing positions in Apple, Amazon and Microsoft. She said they recently initiated a position in cloud-computing company ServiceNow and other “wish list” stocks – those she said were appealing for long-term investors, but had previously been expensive from a multiples perspective.

10:30 a.m. ET: Dallas Fed manufacturing activity index declined far more than expected in March

The Dallas Federal Reserve’s manufacturing activity index plummeted to -70.0 in March as the energy-exposed region suffered a sharp drop-off in business activity amid the coronavirus outbreak and recent oil demand slump.

Consensus economists had expected the headline index to fall to -10.0, from 1.2 in February.

Beneath the headline index, subindices for new orders, capacity utilization and shipments each fell to their lowest readings since the Great Recession. Employment trends eroded, with 26% of firms surveyed reporting net layoffs, and just 3% noting net hiring.

The marked decline in business activity the Dallas Fed region mirrors those seen in recent surveys for other regional Federal Reserves. Reports from both the New York Fed and Philadelphia Fed suggested a sharp slump in output in March as the coronavirus outbreak and social distancing measures seeking to contain it took hold.

10:00 a.m. ET: Pending home sales unexpectedly rose in February, before coronavirus outbreak escalated

A jump in home-buying of previously owned units led the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) pending home sales index to a three-year high in February.

The index jumped 2.4% over January to 111.5. This was an unexpected increase compared to the decline of 1.8% consensus economists expected, according to Bloomberg data.

January’s pending home sales were upwardly revised to a 5.3% rise, from the 5.2% previously reported. January’s increase was the biggest since 2010.

The February pending home sales index captures the period before the coronavirus outbreak escalated in the U.S., and before social distancing measures took widespread effect.

“February’s pending sales figures show the housing market had been very healthy prior to the coronavirus-induced shutdown,” Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, said in a statement. “Numbers in the coming weeks will show just how hard the housing market was hit, but I am optimistic that the upcoming stimulus package will lessen the economic damage and we may get a V-shaped robust recovery later in the year.”

9:30 a.m. ET: Stocks open higher

tocks rose as trading kicked off Monday morning, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq each up more than 1%.

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 9:31 a.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 (^GSPC): +32.75 points (+1.29%) to 2,574.22

  • Dow (^DJI): +180.25 points (+0.83%) to 21,817.03

  • Nasdaq (^IXIC): +107.27 points (+1.43%) to 7,607.82

  • Crude (CL=F): -$1.33 (-6.18%) to $20.18 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$0.30 (-0.02%) to $1,624.70 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): -9.9 bps to yield 0.645%

8:21 a.m. ET: Johnson & Johnson will begin human testing coronavirus vaccine

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) said Monday it intends to begin human testing of its experimental coronavirus vaccine by September, according to a statement. The drugmaker is poised to have it prepared for emergency use in 2021.

Shares of J&J jumped more than 4.4% in early trading to $128.61 each. The stock had closed lower by 2.7% Friday.

7:38 a.m. ET: Negative oil prices?

Oil prices slumped overnight, adding to stunning declines over the past several weeks and year to date, after Saudi Arabia said it had not held talks with Russia to potentially end a price war that started earlier in March, despite international pressure to do so.

Brent crude, the international standard, fell as low as $22.58 Monday morning, the lowest level since November 2002. Domestic West Texas intermediate crude oil prices dipped below $20 per barrel to as low as $19.92 for the session so far.

Saudi Arabia and Russia’s price war has compounded with a global demand shock amid the coronavirus outbreak, sending Brent and West Texas intermediate crude oil prices each off more than 65% for the year to date.

In this environment, U.S. crude oil prices – along with those of other pipeline crude oil like Canada’s West Canadian Select – could even turn negative, according to Goldman Sachs analysts. This could occur as producers run out of space to store excess supply, potentially leading them to bear the costs of disposing of unused barrels.

“The one thing that separates energy from other commodities is that it must be contained within its production infrastructure, which for oil includes pipelines, ships, terminals, storage facilities, refineries, and distribution networks. All of which have relatively small and limited spare capacity,” the analysts including Jeffrey Currie explained in a new note Monday. “Indeed, given the cost of shutting down a well, a producer would be willing to pay someone to dispose of a barrel, implying negative pricing in landlocked areas."

“High-cost waterborne crude oil that can reach a ship (storage we have historically never ran out of), are better positioned than landlocked pipeline crude oil sitting behind thousands of miles of pipe, like the crude oils in the US, Russia and Canada,” they added. “In 1998, when surpluses last breached storage capacity, it was these landlocked crude oils that were the hardest hit. So while markets like WTI, particularly WTI Midland, or Canada’s WCS can go negative, Brent is likely to stay near cash costs of $20/bbl.”

7:05 a.m. ET Monday: Stock futures mixed in choppy overnight session

Stock futures traded choppily overnight as investors grappled with the latest coronavirus developments and weighed their impacts on capital markets.

Here were the main moves in the markets, as of 7:05 a.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): up 0.29%, or 7.25 points to 2,531.25

  • Dow futures (YM=F): up 0.03% or 7 points to 21,444.00

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): up 0.41% or 31 points to 7,599.5

  • Crude (CL=F): -$1.16 (-5.39%) to $20.35 a barrel

  • Gold (GC=F): -$6.00 (-0.36%) to $1,648.10 per ounce

  • 10-year Treasury (^TNX): -9 bps to yield 0.654%

6:02 p.m. ET Sunday: Stock futures sink as coronavirus cases jump further in the U.S.

Futures for each of the three major indices opened lower Sunday morning, signaling renewed declines heading into the regular trading session Monday.

Here were the main moves in markets, as of 6:02 p.m. ET:

  • S&P 500 futures (ES=F): down 2.00%, or 50.50 points to 2,473.50

  • Dow futures (YM=F): down 1.72% or 369 points to 21,068.00

  • Nasdaq futures (NQ=F): down 1.62% or 122.5 points to 7,446.00

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 30: Atmosphere at the CIROC NYSE Closing Bell at New York Stock Exchange on August 30, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Mark Sagliocco/WireImage)

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