Social Distancing, Dr. Fauci, General Motors, Amazon - 5 Things You Must Know Monday

Stock futures rise slightly after President Trump extends social distancing guidelines for the country to April 30; U.S. deaths from the coronavirus rise to nearly 2,500; GM wins praise from Trump; Amazon warehouse workers plan a walkout.
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Here are five things you must know for Monday, March 30:

1. -- Stock Futures Move Higher as Social Distancing Guidelines Extended

Stock futures pointed to a slightly higher open for Wall Street Monday after President Donald Trump extended social distancing guidelines for the country until April 30 as the numbers of infections from the coronavirus across the globe surged.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 36 points, S&P 500 futures gained 9 points and Nasdaq futures were up 38 points.

Stocks declined on Friday but the S&P 500 still gained 10.3% for the week, its biggest gain since March 2009, as lawmakers approved a $2 trillion coronavirus rescue package that investors hope will cushion businesses and ordinary Americans from the economic fallout of the virus outbreak.

The Dow surged 13% last week, the blue-chip index's biggest weekly gain since 1938.

Stocks in Asia closed lower Monday but shares in Australia jumped 7% following more stimulus moves from central banks in the region.

China’s central bank lowered short-term funding rates and injected cash into its financial system, while Australia unveiled a jobs package of about $80 billion.

2. -- Monday's Calendar Highlights

The economic calendar in the U.S. Monday includes the Pending Home Sales Index for February at 10 a.m. ET. 

But the biggest piece of economic data will be issued on Friday when the U.S. jobs report for March will be released. The report will indicate the jobs market took a hit from the coronavirus pandemic but the data will reflect only the first two weeks of March. 

Economists surveyed by The Wall Street Journal expect that U.S. employers cut 56,000 jobs from payrolls - ending a streak of job creation that ran a record 113 months - and the unemployment rate rose to 3.7% from a 50-year low of 3.5% in February.

The earnings calendar on Monday includes a report from egg producer Cal-Maine Foods  (CALM) - Get Report. Reports later in the week are expected from Conagra  (CAG) - Get Report, Walgreens Boots Alliance  (WBA) - Get Report, Chewy  (CHWY) - Get Report and  Constellation Brands  (STZ) - Get Report.

3. -- Coronavirus - The Latest

The number of confirmed global cases of the coronavirus has risen to 723,740, according to the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering, and deaths increased to 34,017.

The U.S. has 143,025 cases of the coronavirus, according to Johns Hopkins CSSE. Deaths in the U.S. have risen to nearly 2,500.

U.S. coronavirus deaths could reach 200,000, said National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Director Anthony Fauci.

“Looking at what we’re seeing now, we’re looking at 100,000 to 200,000” deaths, “but I don’t want to be held to that,” Fauci told CNN on Sunday. “I just don’t think that we really need to make a projection, when it’s such a moving target, that you can so easily be wrong and mislead people.”

President Donald Trump said Sunday he expects deaths from the virus to peak in about two weeks.

He also abandoned his goal of making the United States "open for business" by Easter, April 12, as he extended social distancing guidelines to April 30.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, who shut down non-essential businesses in the city two weeks ago and got residents to stay home to contain the coronavirus outbreak, said he will be asking the president to expand the same measures nationwide.

“This virus is nasty,” he said in a briefing in Los Angeles, Bloomberg reported. “It will cross borders” and cross states, he said.

4. -- General Motors Wins Praise From Trump

General Motors  (GM) - Get Report was praised by President Trump on Sunday, just two days after the automaker was blasted by Trump for coming up short on a promise to provide 40,000 ventilators to combat the coronavirus pandemic. 

Trump invoked the Defense Production Act to order the company to make the ventilators.

“General Motors is doing a fantastic job,” Trump said Sunday at a White House news conference. “I don’t think we have to worry about General Motors now.”

“They really seem to be working very, very hard. I think I’m getting very good reports about General Motors,” he added.

General Motors has partnered with Seattle-based medical device company Ventec Life Systems to build Food and Drug Administration-approved ventilators at GM’s plant in Kokomo, Indiana.

5. -- Amazon Workers Plan Walkout at Staten Island Facility

Amazon.com  (AMZN) - Get Report workers at the online retailing giant's Staten Island, New York, warehouse plan to go on strike Monday, protesting the company's decision to keep the warehouse operating despite news of a confirmed case of the coronavirus there last week.

Christian Smalls, an assistant manager at the facility who is leading the walkout, told the New York Post the workers "want the business closed down and sanitized before we return."

Close to 200 employees could walk out around 12:30 p.m. ET. 

An Amazon spokesperson said in a statement Sunday to CNN that the company's top priority was the health and safety of its employees.

The spokesperson said that Amazon "recently implemented daily temperature screenings in our operations sites as an additional preventative measure to support the health and safety of our customers and employees."