Oil prices improved during Asian trading hours Monday after OPEC+ reached an unprecedented deal to slash production, while global stocks slumped ahead of a week chock full of reports that will offer a look at how major economies and corporations have been hit by the coronavirus.
US oil futures advanced 5% to $23.90 a barrel as traders returned from an extended holiday and cheered a deal to slash oil production by 9.7 million barrels a day starting next month. Futures for Brent, the global benchmark, climbed 4.5% to $32.88 a barrel. The deal is meant to help stabilize the energy market, which has been rocked by a price war and the coronavirus pandemic.
In stocks, Japan's Nikkei 225 (N225) and South Korea's Kospi (KOSPI) fell 1.2% and 0.8%, respectively, in early trading. China's Shanghai Composite (SHCOMP) lost 0.6%. Hong Kong markets remain closed for the Easter holiday and will reopen on Tuesday.
Meanwhile, Dow (INDU) futures fell 320 points, or 1.4%. S&P 500 (SPX) futures and Nasdaq (COMP) futures were also down about 1.4% each.
Investors are anticipating a busy week.
On Friday, China is scheduled to release its first-quarter GDP figures that will reveal how badly the coronavirus crisis damaged the world's second largest economy. Many economists are predicting the country's first contraction in decades.
And many companies will report first quarter earnings this week, which are expected to be dismal because of the coronavirus crisis. Major banks, including JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Wells Fargo (WFC) and Goldman Sachs (GS) are set to report during the first half of this week.
US retail sales and industrial production reports for March are also scheduled to be published on Wednesday, which will offer a further look at the toll coronavirus has taken on the country's economy.
Many businesses, particularly retailers and restaurants, are closed. The airline, hospitality and auto industries have ground to a halt.
SoftBank Group CEO Masayoshi Son says he has reached a deal to supply 300 million face masks a month for Japan, his home country.
As the coronavirus pandemic has forced people to stay inside, few companies have proven themselves as essential as Amazon. From groceries to cleaning supplies, shipments from Amazon (AMZN) have become lifelines for many who are steering clear of supermarkets and other physical retail stores. Company executives have likened the surge in demand to the annual holiday shopping crush.