U.S. stock futures turned positive and were pointing to a gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average at Monday's open after President Donald Trump extended national social-distancing guidelines to April 30. The Dow, which closed 4% lower Friday, soared 12.8% for the week, logging its best weekly gain since 1938 and raising questions about whether blue chips had bottomed. However, heading into Monday's session, the Dow was still nearly 27% off last month's record highs. The yield on the 10-year Treasury remained below 1% early Monday. U.S. oil prices sank below $20 per barrel, near 18-year lows hit earlier this month.
Mortgage bankers warned on Sunday that Federal Reserve mortgage purchases are unbalancing the home-lending market. In addition to the Fed's extraordinary no limit fixed-income purchases, Wall Street analysts and economists said it would not be out of the question to see the central bank take a passive interest in the performance of the stock market for the first time ever.
Preparing the nation for a death toll that could exceed 100,000 from the coronavirus, Trump on Sunday walked back his previous remarks about wanting to reopen the country for business by Easter. Now he hopes for June. In continuing social distancing until the end of next month, the president said, "Nothing would be worse than declaring victory before the victory has been won." Earlier on Sunday, White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said the country could see up to 200,000 deaths and millions of infections. However, he also cautioned that those numbers are based on outbreak modeling and nothing is certain.
The U.S., which has the most known coronavirus infections in the world, saw confirmed cases jump to over 143,000 with 2,513 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. New York has about 40% of those cases and fatalities. A field hospital has been set up inside New York's Central Park to treat coronavirus patients. Abbott Laboratories, which received FDA emergency use authorization on Friday for a test that can detect coronavirus in five minutes, was praised by Trump. "Abbott has stated that they will begin delivering 50,000 tests each day, starting this week," the president said. Johnson & Johnson said Monday that human testing of its experimental coronavirus vaccine would begin by September, but it could take until early 2021 to be available for emergency use authorization.
Global coronavirus cases increased to over 730,000 with 34,685 deaths and more than 149,000 recoveries. Italy, No. 2 to the U.S. in cases with about 97,700, has the worst death toll. Italy's 10,779 fatalities are more than three times as many as China's 3,308. Rounding out the top three, Spain just surpassed China in infections, with over 85,000 cases and more than double China's death toll at 6,803. China, where the pandemic started in December, has the world's fourth most known infections, nearing 82,200 cases. Germany is No. 5 in worldwide cases at about 62,400, including 541 deaths.
Amazon warehouse workers in New York City's Staten Island plan to strike Monday to call attention to what they claim is the lack of protections for employees. Chris Smalls, a management assistant and an organizer of the strike, told CNBC that workers at the fulfillment center known as JFK8, have grown increasingly concerned about coming into work after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus last week. Amazon told CNBC the company was supporting the individual in quarantine and asked anyone who was in contact with the worker to stay home with pay for two weeks. JFK8 remains open. "We are following all guidelines from local health officials and are taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of employees at our site," the company added.