Futures inch higher, Fed minutes, OPEC+ meeting, Tesla, and more

Wall Street

U.S. stocks set to open in the green

U.S. stock futures were slightly higher on Wednesday morning, as traders continued to watch for developments in the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. According to the latest data compiled by John Hopkins University, the virus has infected more than 1.4 million worldwide and claimed at least 81,000 lives.

Markets have been attempting to bounce back from a late-March selloff triggered by the virus, as governments and central banks across the globe continue to unveil vast amounts of economic stimulus to address the impact of the virus.

As of 6:00 a.m. ET, the blue-chip Dow futures were up 67.5 points, or 0.3% to 22,558.5. S&P 500 futures rose 8.75 points, or 0.33% to 2,650.75 while the tech-heavy Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a gain of 34.88 points, or 0.44% to 8,046.88.   

OPEC+ meeting in focus

Crude future also advanced early Wednesday as traders await a videoconference meeting between the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and its allies including Russia.

The oil body led by Saudi Arabia is widely expected to agree to output cuts to help stabilize prices that have been depressed after their last meeting in March ended in a failure to extend supply cuts and a fierce price war between Moscow and Riyadh.

By 6:00 a.m. ET, U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures were at $24.47 a barrel, up 84 cents, or 3.55%. International Brent crude futures gained 18 cents, or 0.56% to $32.05 a barrel.

Fed minutes to be released today

Meanwhile, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)’s minutes of its March 3 meeting as well as it emergency gathering on March 15 will be released at 2:00 p.m. ET.

At the March 13 meeting, committee members agreed to cut the benchmark interest rate to zero and unveiled a new round of quantitative easing to head off downturn brought by the coronavirus pandemic.

Analysts believe that the minutes are likely to reflect a willingness to implement more measures to stabilize the American economy amid the pandemic.

Tesla to cut employee salaries and furlough workers amid coronavirus

Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) plans to cut pay for all salaried employees and furlough all non-essential workers across the U.S. because of the ongoing coronavirus crisis, according to an e-mail sent to all employees and obtained by CNBC on Tuesday.

Executives at the level of vice president and above will take a 30% cut, while directors’ pay will see cuts of 20%, and salaried employees will be cut 10%. The cuts are expected to continue until the end of the second quarter.

Tesla intends to resume production of cars at its Fremont, California factory on May 4, the email said. Shares of the electric automaker were little changed in premarket trading session Wednesday.