Dow Futures Fall Over 300 Points As Investors Assess Prospects for Coronavirus and Oil

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A man wearing a face mask takes a selfie at the Charging Bull statue on March 23, 2020 near the New York Stock Exchange.

Angela Weiss | AFP | Getty Images

US equity futures fell on Sunday night after OPEC and other oil-producing countries reached an agreement on a massive cut in production as investors digested the outlook for the coronavirus.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average recorded 335 points less, or 1.4%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures contracts slid more than 1.4%.

The group of countries known as OPEC + has agreed to cut production by 9.7 million barrels per day, making it the largest production reduction ever recorded. President Donald Trump tweeted that the deal “will save hundreds of thousands of energy jobs in the United States,” adding that it will be “great for everyone.”

Oil prices have fallen by more than 40% since the start of March after Saudi and Russia-led OPEC failed to reach an agreement, as the coronavirus pandemic has damaged global economic prospects.

Sunday’s moves come after the US stock market had one of its best weeks. The Dow Jones posted its seventh best weekly performance, up 12.7%. The S&P 500 experienced its biggest gain in a week since 1974, jumping 12.1%.

The solid weekly gains on Wall Street came largely due to an apparent improvement in the outlook for coronaviruses in the United States as well as a massive stimulus from the Federal Reserve.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases, said on Sunday that he was cautiously optimistic about the slowing epidemic in the United States. He also said that parts of the country could begin to reopen next month.

However, Fauci added that this does not mean that the whole country would activate a “light switch” and return to normal.

In the United States, confirmed cases now total nearly 550,000, more than any other country in the world, according to Johns Hopkins University. New York State has more than 189,000 of these cases. In the United States, the number of deaths from the virus exceeds 21,000.

“The various mitigation efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 appear to be working. What comes next is very much in the air, “said Marc Chaikin, CEO of Chaikin Analytics. “With the timing of the reopening of the economy currently under discussion and the economic effects of the technical shutdown still to be determined, we urge investors to remain cautious but vigilant as events unfold. “

Chaikin noted that the recent market rally – which has caused the S&P 500 to reverse half of its bearish movement from record highs – could disappoint investors at the start of the corporate earnings season.

Johnson & Johnson, JPMorgan Chase and Bank of America are among the companies expected to release their results this week. Several companies have cut their profit forecasts, citing the coronavirus epidemic, while others have cut their profit forecasts.

Despite the market rebound last week, significant averages are still more than 17% lower than the records set in February. The Dow and the S&P 500 are down 16.9% and 13.7%, respectively, for the year while the Nasdaq fell more than 9% in 2020.

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