US President Donald Trump speaks during a Coronavirus Task Force press briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC, on March 29, 2020.
Jim Watson | AFP | Getty Images
Stocks opened higher on Monday, attempting to build off of last week’s historic rally, where the Dow Jones Industrial Average and S&P 500 post their best 3-day win streaks since the 1930s. Sentiment was helped after President Donald Trump said national social distancing guidelines have been extended to April 30 and by optimism around a coronavirus treatment.
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10:42 am: Cramer warns short-sellers against doubting scientists
CNBC’s Jim Cramer argued that stock market short-sellers are unwisely doubting the ability of scientists to slow the spread of COVID-19. “This is a day where you say, if I’m short I’m betting against science, not betting against the lackadaisical attitude of many people in the country, ” Cramer said on “Squawk on the Street.” —Stankiewicz
10:35 am: Citrix shares hit record as company benefits from working-from-home trend
Shares of Citrix Systems rose 1.2% on Monday to an all-time high since its IPO in 1995. Citrix offers virtual-desktop technology that makes it possible for employees to access corporate programs when they’re offsite. The company has seen a surge in demand as the coronavirus pandemic forced more and more people to work from home. The stock has soared 28% in 2020, while the broad market suffered a historic sell-off. — Li
10:33 am: February pending home sales jump over 9% annually, ahead of major coronavirus impact
Homebuyer demand was strengthening markedly just before COVID-19 began its spread across the U.S. Pending home sales, which measure signed contracts on existing homes, rose a stronger-than-expected 2.4% in February compared with January. Sales were up a steep 9.4% annually, according to the National Association of Realtors. That is the highest pace in exactly three years. —Olick
10:13 am: Analysts upgrade defensive stocks, including Procter & Gamble and Northrop Grumman, as coronavirus shutdown is extended
- Jefferies upgraded Procter & Gamble and Kimberly-Clark to buy from hold.
- Bernstein upgraded Northrop Grumman to outperform from market perform.
- BMO upgraded Alphabet to outperform from market perform.
- Wells Fargo upgraded Nike, Canada Goose, Ulta and TJX Companies to overweight from equal weight.
- Raymond James upgraded Amgen to outperform from market perform.
- RBC downgraded Marriott to sector perform from outperform.
- Goldman Sachs upgraded Sherwin Williams to buy from neutral and added it to the firm’s conviction buy list.
- Gordon Haskett downgraded 3M to underperform from hold.
- Berenberg upgraded Hostess Brands to buy from hold.
- Stifel upgraded Mondelez to buy from hold. —Bloom
10:11 am: El-Erian says ‘we’re not in an all clear’ yet
Economist Mohamed El-Erian told CNBC on Monday that investors should not buy the indexes yet, but said that selective buying of individual stocks could work. “If you feel it’s the all clear, go out and buy the index,” the chief economic advisor at Allianz said on “Squawk Box.” But he said, “We’re not in an all clear.” El-Erian, former CEO of investment giant Pimco, said he feels that the time of “selling everything” passed a few weeks ago. — Stankiewicz
9:59 am: Bank stocks slip in early trading
9:39 am: Consumer confidence stabilizes over the weekend, says Morning Consult
9:30 am: Stocks open higher, extending last week’s strength
After a volatile overnight trading session in the futures market, stocks opened higher on Monday. The Dow rose 203 points for a 0.9% gain, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite gained 1.3% and 1.4%, respectively. Stocks are extending last week’s strength after President Trump said on Sunday that the social distancing guidelines will remain in place until April 30, which could help curb the long-term economic damages from the coronavirus. – Stevens
9:22 am: Johnson & Johnson says human testing of its coronavirus vaccine to begin by September
Johnson & Johnson said human testing of its experimental vaccine for the coronavirus would begin by September and that it could be available for emergency use authorization in early 2021.
J&J also said it has committed more than $1 billion of investment along with U.S. agency Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, which is part of the Department of Health and Human Services, to co-fund vaccine research. — Feuer
8:52 am: RBC remains ‘skeptical’ about ‘durability’ of last week’s rebound
The Dow and S&P 500 are coming off their best weeks since 1938 and 2009, respectively, but RBC said the rally may not last. “We remain skeptical about the durability of last week’s rebound,” head of U.S. equity strategy Lori Calvasina said in a note to clients Monday. The firm said the S&P 500 could reach 2,730 – 7% above where it closed Friday – before turning lower again. – Stevens
8:45 am: General Motors rises more than 3.5% in early trading
GM shares rose 4.2% in premarket trading as of 8:45 a.m. ET, signaling a partial bounce in the automaker’s fortunes after a slide of nearly 43% over the last six months. The pop in General Motors equity comes less than 24 hours after President Donald Trump praised the company on Sunday after the company announced it’s begun making badly needed ventilators. “General Motors is doing a fantastic job. I don’t think we need to worry about General Motors,” he said Sunday.
Trump had lambasted GM before Sunday for dragging its feet in negotiations and had accused the company of “wasting time.” The president on Friday invoked the Defense Production Act to force the company to begin making the equipment. – Franck
8:34 am: U.S. oil drops more than 6%, briefly breaks below $20
Oil is coming off its fifth straight week of declines, and prices dropped again on Monday as demand continues to evaporate. U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude dropped 6.5% to trade at $20.12 per barrel, after earlier trading as low as $19.92 per barrel. International benchmark Brent crude shed 9% to trade at $22.82, after previously hitting a more than 17-year low of $22.58. Oil demand has fallen as the coronavirus outbreak has halted travel and slowed business activity worldwide. On Sunday President Donald Trump said he was extending the country’s social distancing guidelines through April 30, sparking new fears about the impact on crude. CNBC’s Jim Cramer said Sunday night in a tweet that if WTI trades below the $20 mark it will trigger “big algo selling.” – Stevens
8:27 am: Congress rumored to be working on fourth stimulus package
Even with last week’s record-breaking economic package signed, congressional lawmakers of both parties are already sketching another emergency spending bill to prevent a depression. Though debate isn’t expected to begin on a fourth package until April at the earliest, U.S. legislators remain concerned about stressed state-government budgets and ensuring the benefits of the third bill are sustained for those furloughed or who have lost their jobs. President Donald Trump signed a $2 trillion coronavirus relief bill on Friday that includes one-time payments to individuals, reinforced unemployment insurance and additional health-care funding. — Franck
8:24 am: Don’t expect a ‘V’ recovery as economy recovers from coronavirus, Boockvar says
Society will change in ways it hasn’t since the Sept. 11 terror attacks, meaning that the recovery may not take a “V” shape, according to Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group . The world ahead will focus on disease prevention where “restaurants will likely have less tables. Maybe for a time airlines won’t sell middle row seats and we’ll just have window and aisle. Those without the antibodies will be walking around with masks, we won’t be shaking hands, [Purell] will be everywhere, there will be spacing on lines, ZOOM becomes the preferred choice of meeting venue, etc…” Boockvar said in a note. He added that he thinks growth will be “gradual” as companies are more interested in building cash balances than spending on personnel and where “we can say goodbye to many stock buyback plans.” Stocks also could be slower to recover as investors are less willing to pay up for earnings and the Fed’s efforts are less effective. – Cox
8:04 am: Stocks exposed to COVID-19 slump in premarket trading
Companies with outsized exposure to the novel coronavirus, and its spread, slumped again in premarket trading Monday after the number of U.S. cases jumped again over the weekend. Cruise line companies Carnival and Norwegian dropped 10% and 9% respectively. American, Southwest and United Airlines fell 6%, 4.4% and 8.1%. Expedia and car-rental company Hertz dropped 0.6% and 0.5%. — Franck
8:02 am: Alphabet rises on BMO upgrade
Shares of Google-parent company Alphabet rose more than 1% in premarket trading on Monday after BMO upgraded the stock to “outperform” from “market perform.” “We expect our mega-caps to be popular upon rebound, and we think there are important relative fundamental differences that nudge GOOGL into Outperform territory,” BMO analyst Daniel Salmon said in a note on Monday. The bank said it favors Alphabet over Facebook for the company’s higher exposure to larger enterprises, as well as its YouTube subscription business which is benefiting from consumers staying at home. BMO kept its 12-month price target of $1,400 on Alphabet, representing a 26% gain from Friday’s close of $1,110. – Li
7:51 am: Abbott surges after approval of five-minute test
Shares of Abbott rose 10% in premarket trading after the company received an emergency use authorization for its new coronavirus test. The test is designed to deliver positive test results within 5 minutes and negative results within 13 minutes. The company said it plans to ship the tests to some health care providers this week. — Pound
7:48 am: The US economy at a standstill, satellite imagery shows
The coronavirus pandemic has brought U.S. business and consumer activity to a halt, with every sector feeling the effects of most of the country’s workforce staying home. With few official measures available to gauge the scope of the economic damage, satellite imagery and alternative data show the widespread effects of the current nationwide isolation recommendations. The U.S. situation is stark: Airplanes are parked on unused runways, the busiest highways are empty during rush hour, resorts have become ghost towns, ports are seeing sharp drops in shipping activity and more. – Sheetz
7:46 am: Goldman says the market won’t bottom until these three things happen
For investors wondering if last week’s big bounce signaled a bottom, Goldman Sachs warned that more selling is ahead and three things need to occur before the market hits a turning point. “A three-part checklist for a sustained rally: (1)Slowing viral spread; (2) Evidence that fiscal and monetary policy stimulus is working; and (3) A bottoming in investor positioning and flows,” said David Kostin, Goldman’s chief U.S. equity strategist.
Goldman said sharp bounces like last week’s are common during bear markets. During the financial crisis, the S&P 500 experienced six bounces of 9% or more between September and December 2008, with some rallies as large as 19%. However, the actual market bottom did not occur until March 2009, Kostin said. – Li
7:43 am: Distancing guidelines extended through April
President Donald Trump announced Sunday that the social distancing guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have been extended until April 30. Trump said his previous statements about the country lifting the Guidelines on Easter, which is April 12, were an “aspiration.” White House health advisor Anthony Fauci said Sunday that the country could see between 100,000 and 200,000 deaths from the pandemic. — Pound
7:24 am: Dow tries to extend gains after best week since 1938
U.S. stock index futures were little changed ahead of Monday’s open as markets look to extend last week’s strength. While stocks moved lower on Friday, the major averages still managed to post gains for the week — and then some. It was the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s best week since 1938, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite registered their largest weekly jump since 2009.
Investors cheered the $2 trillion stimulus package aimed at combating the coronavirus-induced economic slowdown, as well as actions from the Federal Reserve, which include an open-ended asset-purchase program.
But volatility remains the name of the game. Some Street strategists say the bottom is in, while others believe stocks are in for more pain ahead as the worldwide economic impacts of the pandemic continue to reverberate. The United States now has the greatest number of coronavirus cases worldwide, and on Sunday night President Donald Trump said he was extending the national social distancing guidelines to April 30. He had previously said he hoped the economy would “open” back up by Easter Sunday on April 12.
On Monday, the Dow was set to open 25 points lower, while stock futures pointed to small gains for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq. Futures were volatile once again in overnight trading. – Stevens
CNBC’s Michael Sheetz, Thomas Franck, Jeffrey Cox, Kevin Stankiewicz, Maggie Fitzgerald and William Feuer contributed reporting.
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