Dow futures were pointing to an over 500-point decline at Wednesday's open. American retailers saw record sales declines in March due to coronavirus business closures, while New York manufacturing activity in April also hit a record low. Depressed airline stocks were surging in Wednesday's premarket as U.S. carriers and the Treasury Department reach agreements on billions in coronavirus aid. Bank of America, Goldman Sachs and Citigroup reported earnings before the bell, a day after JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo saw quarterly profits fall because they set aside billions of dollars for credit losses. The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Tuesday rallied 558 points, or 2.4%. The S&P 500 climbed 3.1%, while the Nasdaq advanced nearly 4%. Tuesday's rally resumed a sharp rebound from the market lows on March 23.
Bank of America said Wednesday that per-share profit dropped over 40% to 40 cents in the first quarter on revenue net of interest expense of $22.8 billion. Earnings were below expectations of 46 cents, while revenue basically matched forecasts. Like its rivals, BofA added $3.6 billion to loan loss reserves in the quarter. Goldman reported that quarterly earnings fell 45% to $3.11 per share, missing estimates. However, revenue of $8.74 billion exceeded projections. Goldman increased its reserve for credit losses to $937 million compared to $224 million a year ago. Citigroup saw per-share earnings drop over 40% to $1.05 per share, a penny better than expectations. Revenue of $20.7 billion beat estimates. Citi also added to its loan loss reserve.
Delta, American, JetBlue and Southwest said they reached deals for portions of $25 billion in payroll grants to help them get through the coronavirus-driven economic downturn. The largest ever government airline aid package requires that the carriers not furlough or cut the pay rates of employees through Sept. 30. The grants were part of the more than $2 trillion relief package, which was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Donald Trump last month. The virus and harsh measures to stop it from spreading, such as state stay-at-home orders, have driven air travel demand to the lowest levels in decades.
Trump said he believes some states will be able to reopen their economies before the end of April. U.S. coronavirus cases, while slowing, topped 600,000 with 26,059 deaths. Global cases neared 2 million with 127,590 deaths. At Tuesday evening's coronavirus briefing, the president also said the U.S. will suspend funding to the World Health Organization, claiming it "severely" mismanage and covered up the spread of the outbreak. Paper checks of coronavirus relief payments to Americans will have Trump's name printed on them, a Treasury Department official confirmed to NBC News.
Shares of Tesla — over 20% off February's record highs of $968.99 each — were getting a boost in Wednesday's premarket, after Goldman Sachs returned to its coverage of the stock with a buy rating. Goldman put an $864 per share 12-month price target on Elon Musk's electric car maker, implying an advance of over 20% from Tuesday's closing price of $709.89 per share. Goldman expects electric vehicle penetration to increase to nearly 15% by 2030. The Wall Street firm also said that compared with other auto and tech companies, Tesla is attractively valued given its revenue growth.