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

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1. Dow set to rise after Monday’s major turnaround

The gains for the S&P 500 and Nasdaq were stronger to start the week, with all three major stock measures breaking a two-session losing streak.

U.S. oil prices, depressed due to coronavirus-driven demand and storage scarcity, were higher Tuesday for the fifth straight session. However, West Texas Intermediate crude, the American oil benchmark, remained more than 60% below its most recent 52-week high.

2. Pfizer begins experimental vaccine testing in US

A logo sits on the lab coat of a technician as he works at Neusentis Ltd.’s research laboratory, a unit of Pfizer Inc.

Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Pfizer announced Tuesday that it has started testing an experimental vaccine to combat the coronavirus in the United States. The New York-based pharmaceutical giant, working alongside German drugmaker BioNTech, said the first human participants in the U.S. have been dosed with the potential vaccine, BNT162. The companies began human trials late last month in Germany. The trial will test the experimental vaccine on adults between ages 18 and 55 in the first stage before moving on to older groups, Pfizer said, adding it hopes to test up to 360 people. There are currently no FDA-approved therapies to treat Covid-19 and drugmakers are racing to produce a vaccine, which U.S. health officials expect to take at least 12 to 18 months.

3. Model used by White House doubles US death projection

A new forecast projects nearly 135,000 deaths due to Covid-19 in the U.S. through the beginning of August, due mainly to the state reopening measures, which are under way. The model from the University of Washington’s Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation is used by the White House.

The revised projection almost doubles the number of U.S. deaths foreseen since the last estimate in mid-April. The new projections reflect rising mobility and the easing of social distancing measures expected in 31 states by May 11, the institute said, warning that increasing contacts among people will promote transmission of the virus.

4. California could open some businesses Friday

Gavin Newsom, governor of California, speaks during a news conference in Sacramento, California, on Tuesday, April 14, 2020.

Rich Pedroncelli | AP | Bloomberg via Getty Images

California Gov. Gavin Newsom said some of the state’s retail businesses could begin reopening with modifications as early as Friday. Newsom said state officials this week will issue specific guidelines and conditions that low-risk businesses must meet, joining other states that are starting to reopen.

California’s stage 2 plan, if implemented Friday, would allow curbside pickup for retailers such as clothing stores, book stores, music stores, toy stores and florists. The order would not include offices, dining inside restaurants or shopping malls. Newsom said the state would also allow some counties to begin easing social distancing restrictions.

5. United, Disney, Fiat deal with coronavirus crisis

An empty check-in area is seen at the United Airlines domestic check-in area at San Francisco International Airport in San Francisco, on Thursday, March. 5, 2020.

David Paul Morris | Bloomberg | Getty Images

United Airlines said in a memo that it plans job cuts of about 30% in its management and administrative ranks in October due to the coronavirus pandemic. In a second memo, the carrier warned its pilots to also prepare for changes. United is among the airlines that accepted U.S. government payroll aid that bans job or pay cuts before Sept. 30. However, United and other carriers warned when taking the federal relief that demand is unlikely to recover to precrisis levels by that date, forcing them to shrink in the fall.

Disney — which has furloughed as many as 100,000 workers, slashed executive pay and taken out a $5 billion line of credit — is set to report quarterly earnings after the stock market close on Tuesday. Last year, Disney’s Parks, Experiences and Consumer Products segment was its fastest-growing profit driver. Now, it could be the company’s biggest drag due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

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