Google, AMD, Caterpillar, Coronavirus Testing, JetBlue - 5 Things You Must Know Tuesday

Stock futures rise Tuesday but the historic slide in oil prices continues; Alphabet, Advanced Micro Devices and Caterpillar report earnings; the Federal Reserve begins a two-day meeting; JetBlue requires passengers to wear masks.
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Here are five things you must know for Tuesday, April 28:

1. -- Stock Futures Rise, Oil Prices Slide

Stock futures were rising Tuesday as many states began emerging from lockdowns but another tumble in oil prices served as a reminder of just how much energy demand has been sapped by the coronavirus pandemic. 

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 341 points, futures for the S&P 500 gained 35 points and Nasdaq futures were up 108 points.

West Texas Intermediate crude for June delivery trimmed an earlier slide of almost 20%, and at last check was down 8.53% to $11.69 a barrel. Oil prices plunged nearly 25% on Monday amid a worldwide oil glut and a lack of storage capacity.

Wall Street also will have to contend Tuesday with a number of potentially market-moving events such as earnings from Google parent Alphabet  (GOOGL) - Get Report and the start of a two-day meeting of the Federal Reserve.

Stocks on Monday finished higher as global economies, including the U.S., moved tentatively toward reopening and investors prepped for the busiest week of earnings season.

The Dow on Monday rose for a fourth straight session, gaining 358 points, or 1.51%, to close at 24,133. The S&P 500 gained 1.47% and the Nasdaq rose 1.11%.

“We’re in recession, it’s a long recovery from here,” said Joe Seydl, capital markets economist at J.P. Morgan Private Bank. However, it “is starting to look a little bit better than a few weeks ago because it looks like we’re past the worst of it.”

2. -- Alphabet, AMD and Caterpillar Report Earnings

Earnings reports are expected Tuesday from Alphabet, Advanced Micro Devices  (AMD) - Get Report, Ford  (F) - Get Report, Southwest Airlines  (LUV) - Get Report, Merk  (MRK) - Get Report, Starbucks  (SBUX) - Get Report, FireEye  (FEYE) - Get Report, iRobot  (IRBT) - Get Report, Mondelez  (MDLZ) - Get Report and Harley-Davidson  (HOG) - Get Report.

PepsiCo  (PEP) - Get Report reported first-quarter adjusted earnings that were stronger than expected but pulled its full-year profit guidance amid consumer uncertainty linked to the global coronavirus pandemic.

The beverage and snacks maker said it would continue to buy back shares and pay a cash dividend.

3M  (MMM) - Get Report posted stronger-than-expected earnings in the first quarter,  pulled its full-year profit guidance, and cut its capital expenditure plans amid coronavirus uncertainty.

Caterpillar  (CAT) - Get Report earned $1.98 a share in the first quarter, down from $3.25 a year earlier. The heavy equipment maker said it wouldn't be providing 2020 guidance because of the pandemic.

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3. -- Fed Meeting Begins, Consumer Confidence Data to Be Released

The economic calendar Tuesday includes International Trade in Goods for March at 8:30 a.m. ET and Consumer Confidence for April at 10 a.m.

The calendar also includes the first session of the two-day meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee, the Federal Reserve's rate-setting committee. The central bank lowered rates to near zero in mid-March and it's expected rates will remain there for the foreseeable future, according to economists. 

Forward guidance from the Fed on rates will be closely watched. The central bank said last month it would keep rates at near zero “until it is confident that the economy has weathered recent events.”

4. -- Trump Says U.S. Rapidly Expanding Coronavirus Testing

President Donald Trump said coronavirus "testing is not going to be a problem" at a White House news conference Monday to announce a plan that describes the federal government as the "supplier of last resort."

Many political, business and health leaders, including Trump's advisers, have said expanded testing is necessary to enable people to safely go back to work and gather in public during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

For now, about 150,000 tests a day are occurring throughout the country, and several times that amount are necessary, according to experts.

A White House official said the administration plans to provide enough tests to all 50 states to screen at least 2% of their residents, Bloomberg reported.

“We are continuing to rapidly expand our capacity,” Trump said Monday, adding he was “confident that we have enough testing to begin reopening and the reopening process.”

“We want to get our country open and the testing is not going to be a problem at all,” he said. “In fact, it’s going to be one of the great assets that we have.”

Retailers such as CVS Health  (CVS) - Get Report and Walgreens Boots Alliance  (WBA) - Get Report announced Monday they would dramatically expand testing sites at their locations.

The U.S. has 988,469 cases of the coronavirus, the most in the world, according to the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering.  Deaths in the U.S. have risen to 56,253, also the most in the world.

Global cases of the virus topped 3 million on Monday.

5. -- JetBlue Requires Passengers to Wear Face Masks

JetBlue Airways  (JBLU) - Get Report will require all passengers to wear a face covering beginning May 4, the first U.S. airline to enact such a policy.

“Wearing a face covering isn’t about protecting yourself, it’s about protecting those around you,” said JetBlue President Joanna Geraghty. “This is the new flying etiquette.”

The airline already had required that flight attendants wear a mask or face covering while working.

Delta Air Lines  (DAL) - Get Report and American Airlines  (AAL) - Get Report said Monday that employees would be required to wear masks. The airlines will provide masks for passengers.

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