Stock futures tilt lower
U.S. equity-index futures declined on Thursday amid renewed jitters around the new coronavirus, officially named COVID-19. Chinese health officials revised the total case numbers in Hubei province higher by 15,000 and the death tally by an additional 242 after they deployed a new method to diagnose the virus.
According to the officials, the new total number of coronavirus cases for the whole country is 59,804 while the death toll stands at 1,367. The officials said the new classification system is intended to make sure that “patients can receive standardized treatment according to confirmed cases as early as possible to further improve the success rate of treatment.”
By 4:30 a.m. ET, the blue-chip Dow futures were down 176.5 points, or 0.60% to 29,346.5. The S&P 500 futures dropped 20.38 points, or 0.60% to 3,360.12 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures declined 73.63 points, or 0.76% to 9,552.12.
Crude futures fall as IEA cuts 2020 oil demand growth forecast due to coronavirus fears
Crude futures also fell early Thursday after the International Energy Agency (IEA) said that global oil demand this year will see the slowest pace of growth since 2011 as the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak spreads across the globe and harms Chinese consumption.
The IEA cut its 2020 oil demand growth forecast to 825,000 barrels per day from the 1.2 million barrels per day it had previously forecast. On Wednesday, OPEC also lowered its demand predictions by 0.23 million barrels per day to 0.99 million barrels per day because of the factory closures in China and the risk that the coronavirus poses to supply chain.
By 4:30 a.m. ET, U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were down $0.37, or around 0.72%, at $50.80 a barrel. International Brent crude oil futures were at $55.19 per barrel, down $0.60, or about 1.08%.
MGM Resorts CEO resigns
Jim Murren, chairman and chief executive officer of MGM Resorts (NYSE: MGM) since 2008, is stepping down from the company before completing his contract, following 22 years of service to the U.S. casino operator.
The company made the announcement on Wednesday afternoon, adding that its board has formed an independent committee to find his replacement. Murren will remain chairman and CEO until the company names his successor.
MGM also pulled its financial guidance for 2020, citing “increased volatility in our business due to coronavirus as well as the market-wide weakness in Far East baccarat in Las Vegas.” The stock was down 4.81% to $32.04 a share in premarket hours Thursday.
Alibaba, Nvidia, PepsiCo, Roku report earnings today
Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) will report its fourth-quarter earnings today before the opening bell. Analysts expect the Chinese e-commerce giant to post earnings of $2.22 per share on revenue of $22.45 billion.
Graphics chipmaker Nvidia (NASDAQ: NVDA) is expected to announce fourth-quarter earnings of $1.66 a share on revenue of $2.96 billion after the market close. Other key earnings to watch today include PepsiCo (NASDAQ: PEP), Kraft Heinz (NASDAQ: KHC), Roku (NASDAQ: ROKU), and Expedia (NASDAQ: EXPE).