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* Futures near one-month high
* Exxon, Halliburton track oil prices higher
* Cruise operators lead gains among S&P 500 firms
* Futures up: Dow 3.24%, S&P 2.8%, Nasdaq 2.59% (Adds details, comments; Updates prices)
By Uday Sampath Kumar and Shreyashi Sanyal
April 7 (Reuters) – Wall Street was set to resume a strong rally on Tuesday as early signs of a slowdown in coronavirus cases in U.S. hot spots raised hopes that the sweeping lockdown measures were working.
U.S. stock index futures hit a near one-month high in early trading, a day after the three major indexes jumped more than 7% as the governors of New York and New Jersey said their states were showing tentative signs of a “flattening” of the virus outbreak.
Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards said later on Monday new hospital admissions were trending down in his state, also among the hardest hit in the United States, where the nationwide death toll has approached 11,000.
“This is looking more like a bear market rally,” said Nancy Perez, senior portfolio manager at Boston Private Wealth in Miami.
“I think there’s still a lot of headwinds that could cause this market to re-test the lows. There will be the initial resumption of business on paper, but then the actual actions will have to follow.”
Despite Monday’s bounce, the S&P 500 remains more than 21% below its mid-February record closing high, and investors fear reports of more production cuts and staff furloughs amid prolonged stay-at-home orders.
A Reuters poll of economists said a global recession would be deeper than previously thought, although most clung to hopes for a swift rebound.
Wall Street’s fear gauge has steadily retreated from 12-year peaks, but volatility is expected to remain high as companies prepare to report an expected slide in first-quarter earnings and outline plans to bolster cash reserves.
Exxon Mobil throttled back a multi-year investment spree in shale, LNG and deep water oil production, saying it would cut planned capital spending this year by 30% as the pandemic saps energy demand.
Oilfield services firm Halliburton Co said it would cut about 350 jobs in Oklahoma and that its executives would reduce their salaries.
Exxon and Halliburton shares jumped 5.4% and 6.3%, respectively, also tracking a surge in oil prices amid hopes the world’s main oil producers would agree to cut output at a meeting on Thursday.
Marathon Oil and Apache Corp rose between 5.0% and 13.3% in premarket trading.
Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and Carnival Corp, among the most heavily battered stocks this year due to a near halt in global tourism, rose between 15% and 18%.
At 08:24 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 728 points, or 3.24%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 74 points, or 2.8% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 207.75 points, or 2.59%. (Reporting by Uday Sampath, Shreyashi Sanyal and Devik Jain in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur and Shounak Dasgupta)
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