1. Stocks set to rally again, tracking higher for April
With just days left in April, the Dow was up over 10%, tracking to break a three-month losing streak with its best monthly performance since October 2002. The S&P 500 was up more than 11% in April, also pacing to snap a three-month losing streak and with its best monthly performance since January 1987. As of Monday’s close, the S&P 500 was about 15% from its February all-time high and over 30% above its March coronavirus low. The Dow was also up more than 30% from its March low and about 18% from its February record.
2. Four of the Dow-30 companies report earnings
3M shares jumped Tuesday after the manufacturing conglomerate reported first-quarter earnings and revenues that topped expectations as demand for safety equipment and cleaning products spiked during the pandemic. The maker of N95 medical masks reported adjusted earnings per share of $2.16 on revenue of $8.1 billion. It withdrew guidance due to uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus crisis.
Caterpillar shares rose Tuesday despite the heavy equipment maker reporting first-quarter earnings and revenue that missed estimates. Caterpillar issued adjusted profit of $1.60 per share on revenue of $10.6 billion. It did not offer any outlook because of the virus outbreak.
Pfizer and Merck, both Dow stocks, reported better than expected first-quarter profits and revenue Tuesday. Pfizer earned 80 cents per share on $12 billion in revenue. It reaffirmed 2020 guidance. Shares were higher. Merck said it made $1.50 per share on revenue of $12 billion. It lowered its outlook. Shares were lower.
3. US oil prices recover about half earlier losses
Oil-storage tanks are seen from above in Carson, California, April 25, 2020 after the price for crude plunged into negative territory for the first time in history on April 20.
Robyn Beck | AFP | Getty Images
Wall Street’s recovery continued as depressed U.S. oil prices recovered some of their earlier losses. The contract for June delivery was sinking about 8% to $12 per barrel Tuesday. Analysts are concerned the June contract for West Texas Intermediate crude, the American benchmark, could crash and possibly go negative like the May contract did earlier this month on demand and shortage scarcity. Adding pressure to prices Monday, the United States Oil Fund, an exchange-traded security popular with retail investors, said it would sell all of its June delivery contracts in favor of longer-term contracts. The July and August contracts were faring better at $19 and over $22 per barrel respectively.
4. Fed begins its two-day April meeting
Jerome Powell, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, speaks during a news conference in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Tuesday, March 3, 2020.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images
The Federal Reserve, after unleashing its most aggressive programs ever to support markets and the economy, started its two-day April meeting Tuesday. The Fed is likely to pause any additional initiatives during the coronavirus crisis until it has more information about how those moves are working and what lies ahead. According to respondents to the CNBC Fed Survey, the economy could take one to two years to rebound to full strength with the central bank and Congress having to commit trillions of dollars more along the way. Despite the massive coronavirus relief, respondents still see the unemployment rate peaking in August at 19%.
5. Trump slams China, rolls out US testing blueprint
President Donald Trump speaks during a news conference on the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, DC on April 27, 2020.
Mandel Ngan | AFP | Getty Images
President Donald Trump said China could have stopped the coronavirus “at the source” before it swept around the world. Current cases globally top 3 million, with 211,349 deaths. Trump also said Monday the White House is conducting “serious investigations” into China’s handling of the outbreak, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. Beijing responded by saying that some U.S. politicians are lying to deflect attention from their insufficient response to the virus at home.
The Trump administration unveiled a new strategy Monday to help states ramp up their capacity to test for coronavirus, claiming most of the work is done, according to new documents. Texas joins the growing list of states starting to reopen their economies. Officials there said they will allow the current statewide stay-at-home order to expire on Thursday, with Texas businesses beginning to open in phases the following day. U.S. coronavirus cases approach 1 million, with 56,253 fatalities.
— Reuters contributed to this report.