5 Things to Know

5 things to know before the stock market opens Wednesday

1. Dow set to jump on positive data on possible Gilead coronavirus treatment

Dow futures were pointing to an over 500-point gain at Wednesday's open on positive data about Gilead Sciences' remdesivir coronavirus drug trial. Also in focus, Dow stock Boeing rose 4% following quarterly financial results; the Federal Reserve concludes its two-day April meeting in the afternoon; and the government said its initial look at first-quarter gross domestic product showed a larger than expected contraction of 4.8%. Adding a tailwind on Wall Street, depressed U.S. oil prices were bouncing about 17% for June delivery. West Texas Intermediate crude, the American benchmark, dropped 24.5% on Monday and 3.4% on Tuesday. WTI has been sliding as coronavirus lockdowns sap demand and worldwide crude storage space dwindles. On Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average snapped a four-session winning streak, closing off a modest 32 points as tech stocks took the wind of an earlier rally on hopes that states reopening their economies find success. With two days left in April, the Dow was up nearly 10% for the month.

2. Struggling industrial giants report earnings

Boeing just reported a first-quarter loss of $641 million. The company faces the coronavirus crisis and the over yearlong grounding of its best-selling plane, the 737 Max. Boeing's adjusted per-share loss of $1.70 was worse than expected. Revenue of $16.9 billion also missed expectations. The company, whose stock was down nearly 60% year to date as of Tuesday's close, burned through $4.3 billion in cash during the first quarter.

Another struggling U.S. industrial company, General Electric, reported mixed first-quarter financial results. GE shares were under pressure in Wednesday's premarket, adding to stock losses of about 40% this year as the coronavirus pandemic brought global economic activity to a halt. GE posted lower-than-expected adjusted per-share earnings of 5 cents. Revenue of $20.5 billion was better than expected. In the earnings press release, CEO Larry Culp said the outbreak "materially challenged" results.

3. Tech results also a major focus on Wall Street

Google CEO Sundar Pichai
Getty Images

Shares of Alphabet were jumping more than 7% in Wednesday's premarket trading after the Google-parent gave assurances on its post-earnings analyst call that the worst of the coronavirus impact on business may be behind it. After the bell Tuesday, Alphabet said it earned an adjusted $9.87 per share on revenue of nearly $41.2 billion. The top line beat forecasts as the slowdown in online advertising spending was not as bad as feared. But the bottom line missed on estimates. Alphabet, while cautiously optimistic, does expect a difficult ad environment in the second quarter. Microsoft, Facebook and Tesla are set to report their quarterly results Wednesday afternoon.

4. Starbucks prepares to reopen US cafes

A pedestrian wearing a protective mask walks in front of a temporarily closed Starbucks coffee shop in Brooklyn, New York, on Monday, April 27, 2020.
Gabby Jones | Bloomberg via Getty Images

Shares of Starbucks, closely watched due to its extensive business in China, were steady in the premarket. The coffee giant delivered $6 billion in fiscal second-quarter revenue that beat estimates. However, adjusted earnings of 32 cents per share fell short of forecasts. Catastrophe pay for baristas, hourly pay increases and the cost of store safety items such as face coverings weighed on profits during the quarter. Global same-store sales declined a worse-than-expected 10% as the coronavirus hit sales in its two largest markets, the U.S. and China. Starbucks, which is preparing to start reopening U.S. cafes next week, expects an even tougher third quarter.

5. US coronavirus deaths top Vietnam War

U.S. coronavirus cases have topped 1 million, accounting for nearly one-third of all reported infections in the world, and deaths of 58,355 have exceeded the number of Americans killed in the Vietnam War. President Donald Trump on Tuesday evening invoked the Defense Production Act to order meatpacking plants to remain open. The order classifies the facilities as critical infrastructure as a way to combat the strain the food supply chain. Also on Tuesday, Trump said the U.S. will "very soon" run 5 million coronavirus tests per day. The most tests the nation has ever run on a single day was 314,182 on April 22, according to data compiled by the Covid Tracking Project.

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