Wall Street set to slide as sub-zero U.S. crude adds to pandemic worries

(Reuters) – Wall Street looked set to resume their slide on Tuesday as a historic collapse in U.S. crude prices to below zero and gloomy quarterly forecasts raised the specter of a deep global recession in the coming months.

U.S. stock indexes fell on Monday as plunging oil demand pushed WTI crude CLc1 to minus $40 for the first time. With nowhere to store the excess capacity, traders fled from contracts that would deliver barrels of oil to them in May.

Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) shed 3.3% in premarket trading and Chevron Corp (CVX.N) slipped 4.0% as the front month May WTI CLc1 contracts continued to trade below $0 on Tuesday. June contracts also fell by $4, signaling more weakness in demand in the face of a near halt in global activity.

“Yesterday, the historic oil crash had a limited impact on U.S. stocks, but that won’t be the case going forward as the rolling of contracts won’t wait so close to expiry,” said Edward Moya, market analyst at OANDA.

“Oil prices will remain heavy in the short-term and since many energy stocks have recently rebounded, they are ripe to see a lot of pain this week.”

Other oil-related companies including Apache Corp (APA.N), Halliburton Co (HAL.N), ConocoPhillips (COP.N), Schlumberger (SLB.N) and Occidental Petroleum Corp (OXY.N) fell between 4.5% and 6%.

The benchmark S&P 500 index .SPX has climbed over 25% from a March low, powered by trillions of dollars in stimulus, but still remains nearly 17% below its record high amid fears of the biggest economic slump since the Great Depression.

At 8:48 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis 1YMcv1 were down 548 points, or 2.33%, S&P 500 e-minis EScv1 were down 51.75 points, or 1.84% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis NQcv1 were down 77.5 points, or 0.89%.

Meanwhile, U.S. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said on Tuesday Republicans and Democrats had agreed on a fourth coronavirus spending bill to aid small businesses and the deal would be passed in the Senate later in the day.

Dismal 2020 forecasts from big U.S. banks kicked off the first-quarter U.S. corporate earnings season and major companies have since announced dividend cuts and withdrawn financial outlooks.

Analysts expect a corporate recession this year with earnings for S&P 500 firms falling 13.5% in the first quarter and 29.1% in the second, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Coca-Cola Co (KO.N) provided the latest evidence of the damage wrought by the pandemic, saying its current-quarter results would take a severe hit from low demand for sodas. Its shares fell 0.7%

Travelers Companies (TRV.N), the first of the big U.S. insurers to report results, shed 3.6% after reporting a 25% fall in quarterly profit, hurt by higher catastrophe losses.

Among other Dow components, International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N) slid 4.7% after the company withdrew its 2020 annual forecast late on Monday.

Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N), the Pentagon’s No.1 weapons supplier, rose 1.2% after reporting better-than-expected quarterly profit, but lowered its 2020 sales outlook due to coronavirus-led supply chain delays..

Chip industry bellwether Texas Instruments (TXN.O) is set to report its first-quarter earnings later in the day.

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