5 things to know before the stock market opens May 4, 2020

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1. Dow set for sharp drop as May’s selloff continues

Flags fly at full staff outside the NYSE on April 09, 2020 in New York City.

Kena Betancur | Getty Images

This Friday, the Labor Department’s April jobs report is expected to see a jump in unemployment from 4.4% to over 16.1%, the highest level since 1939, according to Dow Jones. All week long, companies continue to report earnings from the first three months of the year, staring Monday with Tyson Foods before the bell.

2. Buffett sells airlines, bets on America, increases cash

Airline shares were sharply lower in Monday’s premarket after Warren Buffett said Saturday that his Berkshire Hathaway has sold the entirety of its equity positions in United, American, Southwest and Delta. The prior stakes, worth over $4 billion dollars in December, had included a 7.6% position in United, a 10% position in American, a 10.1% position in Southwest and a 9.2% position in Delta. Buffett said at Berkshire’s virtual annual shareholders’ meeting, “The world has changed for the airlines” due the coronavirus crisis.

However, Buffett said the U.S. economy will withstand the pandemic as it has with all of the previous battles and crises. “Nothing can basically stop America,” he added. “In World War II, I was convinced of this. … I was convinced of this during the Cuban Missile Crisis, 9/11, the financial crisis.”

The billionaire investor, known as the “Oracle of Omaha,” also addressed the “elephant-sized acquisition” he has yet to make. Buffett hasn’t made any big investments in several years as Berkshire’s massive cash pile ballooned to a record $137 billion by the end of March. He said the reason is simply that he hasn’t found anything “attractive.”

3. Trump says ‘mistake’ in China caused coronavirus spread

U.S. President Donald Trump participates in a live Fox News Channel virtual town hall called “America Together: Returning to Work” about response to the coronavirus pandemic being broadcast from inside the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, U.S. May 3, 2020.

Joshua Roberts | Reuters

President Donald Trump said Sunday he believes that a “mistake” in China was the cause of the spreading coronavirus, though he did not present any evidence for the claim. The comments, which came during a Fox News town hall at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, came hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that “a significant amount of evidence” suggested that the virus emerged from a Chinese laboratory in Wuhan. Trump also said Sunday he’s confident that there will be a coronavirus vaccine by the end of the year. Public health officials have said a coronavirus vaccine could take a year to 18 months. Vaccines often take many years to develop and distribute. The World Health Organization has said there are currently dozens of coronavirus vaccines in development.

4. Remdesivir to be available as early as this week

A lab technician inspects filled vials of investigational coronavirus disease (COVID-19) treatment drug remdesivir at a Gilead Sciences facility in La Verne, California, U.S. March 11, 2020. Picture taken March 11, 2020.

Gilead Sciences Inc | Reuters

Gilead Sciences’ coronavirus fighting drug remdesivir will be available to doctors and patients as early as this week. The Food and Drug Administration granted emergency use authorization for remdesivir after Gilead and the government last week released positive results from two separate clinical trials. New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Massachusetts and Rhode Island plan to coordinate the purchasing of personal protective equipment for hospitals. All seven states are also coordinating plans to reopening their economies as nearly 1.2 million Americas have been diagnosed with Covid-19 and 67,686 have died. Worldwide cases have topped 3.5 million with 247,752 deaths.

5. Florida reopens restaurants and retailers

Customers wait for to-go orders outside Shake Shack in South Beach on April 19, 2020 in Miami Beach, Florida.

Cliff Hawkins | Getty Images

Florida on Monday becomes the latest state to begin to reopen some businesses. Restaurants, in all but three South Florida counties, are allowed to resume in-dining service at 25% capacity, with outside areas only by limited by social distancing guidelines — tables 6 feet apart, with no parties of more than 10 people. Retailers in Florida can also operate at 25% capacity indoors. Last week, residents in Texas were allowed to to go back to malls, restaurants, movie theaters and retail stores in limited numbers. Georgia, at the end of last month, allowed businesses including resturants and movie theaters as well as hair stylists, massage therapists and tattoo artists to resume operations.

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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