Stocks slide as oil crashes below zero

U.S. equity markets slid Monday as oil crashed below zero and headed toward its lowest close since recordkeeping began in March 1983.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by as many as 489 points, or 2.02 percent, before paring its losses. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite were down 1.53 percent and 1.01 percent, respectively, at their lows.

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Ongoing concerns over swelling oil inventories pushed West Texas Intermediate crude for May delivery down by as much as 41 percent to $10.85 per barrel.

The plunge in crude prices pressured oil majors Exxon Mobil and Chevron, which were the biggest decliners among Dow components.

Elsewhere in the space, oil services provider Halliburton lost $1.02 billion in the first quarter and said it would cut costs by $1 billion as the crash in oil prices has decimated investment. Expolorers Continental Resources and EOG Resources were among the other energy names in focus.

President Trump said during his coronavirus task force update on Sunday evening that lawmakers were closing in on a deal that would replenish funding for small businesses ravaged by the economic fallout from COVID-19. An agreement would also provide funding for testing and to hospitals that have been overwhelmed with patients.

United Airlines lost a larger-than-expected $2.1 billion in the first quarter and the company said it could borrow up to $4.5 billion through the CARES Act. Over the weekend, the airline reached a sale and leaseback deal for 22 Boeing aircraft with Singapore-based Bank of China Aviation.

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Hard-hit Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings has enlisted Goldman Sachs to explore financing alternatives, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Meanwhile, Walmart sales soared by almost 20 percent in March, the Journal reported, citing company documents.

Shake Shack said it would return the $10 million small business loan it received from the U.S. government after raising $150 million in an equity offering last week.

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Embattled Cheesecake Factory Inc. received a $200 million investment from private-equity firm Roark Capital.

U.S. Treasurys rallied, pushing the yield on the 10-year note down by 3.2 basis points to 0.624 percent.

In Europe, Germany’s DAX paced the decline, down 1.51 percent, while France’s CAC and Britain’s FTSE were off 1.36 percent and 1.16 percent, respectively.

Overnight, Japan’s Nikkei fell 1.15 percent, China’s Shanghai Composite lost 0.49 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.21 percent.

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