Dow futures trimmed earlier gains as U.S. oil prices turned lower after a five-session winning streak on an uptick in coronavirus-depressed demand from more and more states taking steps to reopen their economies. Earnings and ADP's April private-sector jobs report could determine whether Wall Street logs its third straight day of gains.
While the Dow Jones Industrial Average, S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed higher Tuesday, they dramatically cut their gains in the final hour of trading after Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Richard Clarida told CNBC's "Closing Bell" the economy may need more fiscal and monetary support. The Nasdaq had been within about 1% of erasing its 2020 loses.
U.S. companies shed over 20.2 million jobs in April, according to the ADP's monthly private sector employment report. The Labor Department's April employment report is out on Friday morning. The unemployment rate is expected to soar from 4.4% to over 16.1% in April, the highest level since 1939, according to Dow Jones. The weekly jobless claims numbers, which are reported on Thursdays, have been chronicling the nosedive in employment during the pandemic, which wiped out the decade of job gains since the Great Recession.
General Motors shares were jumping in Wednesday's premarket after the automaker said before-the-bell that it made $294 million in the first quarter despite coronavirus factory closures. Revenue slipped 6.2% to $32.7 billion but exceeded estimates. GM burned through $903 million during the quarter. The company is targeting May 18 to restart the majority of U.S. production under extensive safety measures.
CVS Health shares soared in premarket trading Wednesday after the company reported a huge jump in sales at its stores as customers rushed in to get prescriptions and other essentials during the pandemic. Before the bell, CVS reported adjusted per-share profit of $1.91 on revenue of $66.8 billion, beating estimates on the both measures. CVS did not change its outlook for 2020 earnings despite many other companies withdrawing guidance.
Shares of Disney were under pressure after the media and theme park giant issued lower-than-expected fiscal second-quarter earnings of 60 cents per share. The coronavirus crisis had a $1.4 billion impact on profits. While revenue of $18 billion exceeded forecasts, Disney said after the bell Tuesday the pandemic fallout would continue in all aspects of its entertainment businesses for the foreseeable future. The company is suspending its dividend payout for the first half of the fiscal year.
U.S. airlines are collectively burning more than $10 billion in cash a month and averaging fewer than two dozen passengers per domestic flight during the coronavirus pandemic, according to prepared testimony from industry trade group Airlines for America for a hearing Wednesday before the Senate Commerce Committee. If airlines were to refund all tickets, including those purchased as nonrefundable or those canceled by a passenger, "this will result in negative cash balances that will lead to bankruptcy," the CEO of Airlines for America is expected to tell lawmakers. U.S. passenger traffic has fallen by 95% since March.
President Donald Trump, in a reversal, tweeted Wednesday that the White House coronavirus task force, headed by Vice President Mike Pence, will keep working "indefinitely," with a focus on vaccines and reopening the economy. In a rare network interview Tuesday, Trump acknowledged that reopening now, against the advice of many health experts, would inevitably cost some Americans their lives. He told ABC's David Muir the benefits outweigh the costs. As of Wednesday morning, there were 71,078 deaths in the U.S., with total cases of more than 1.2 million. Trump on Tuesday visited a Honeywell factory in Phoenix, which is producing millions of N95 masks for the federal government. He did not wear a mask at the plant.
— Reuters contributed to this report. Follow all the developments on Wall Street in real-time with CNBC's live markets blog.