By Lorcan Roche Kelly
West Texas Intermediate for June delivery traded close to $10 a barrel this morning, extending losses as exchange-traded funds and indexes reduce their exposure to the front-month contract in the wake of last week’s drop into negative territory. The United States Oil Fund LP unexpectedly started selling its holdings of the most actively trading WTI futures contract yesterday, and S&P Global Inc. told clients to roll all their exposure into July with immediate effect. The rush for storage continues, with U.S. oil companies leasing space in the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, while South Korea has run out of capacity for third-party companies.
Analysts will be looking to get a health check on the economy today when a raft of companies report results. Before the bell, Caterpillar Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co. will update investors. Tech earnings season kicks off later, with Alphabet Inc.’s results expected to show strong cloud growth, while spending on advertising will have been hit hard in the first quarter. Ford Motor Co. and Starbucks Corp. also report later.
While much of the world is looking to reopen, Chinese scientists are warning that the virus may return in waves like the flu. The high number of people who carry the coronavirus without having any symptoms means it is very hard to fully contain transmission. In the shorter term, the White House issued a strategy to expand testing in cooperation with retailers including Walmart Inc. and CVS Health Corp. with President Donald Trump saying he is confident there is enough testing to begin “the reopening process.” Spain and France will spell out their plans to ease lockdowns, while Germany saw the number of new infections fall below 1,000 for the first time in more than five weeks.
Global equities are posting another day of gains after the S&P 500 Index ended yesterday’s session at the highest level since March 10. Overnight the MSCI Asia Pacific Index added 0.7% while Japan’s Topix index closed 0.1% higher. After getting the session off to a slow start, Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index had risen 1.5% by 5:50 a.m. Eastern Time. S&P 500 futures were pointing to more green at the open, the 10-year Treasury yield was at 0.662% and gold slipped.
The advance-goods trade balance and wholesale inventories data for March is published at 8:30 a.m. There is unlikely to be much useful information in pre-lockdown February house price numbers at 9:00 a.m. Conference Board Confidence and Richmond Fed Manufacturing data, both for April, is at 10:00 a.m. The two-day Federal Reserve meeting begins. In politics, the Ohio primary ends today, Joe Biden holds a virtual town hall, and President Trump is scheduled to speak on the small business paycheck protection program.