Futures jump on hopes of slowdown in coronavirus cases

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NEW YORK (April 6): U.S. stock index futures jumped nearly 4% on Monday, after President Donald Trump expressed hope that the coronavirus health crisis was "leveling-off" in some of the hardest-hit U.S. states.

New York, the country's biggest hot spot, reported on Sunday that for the first time in a week, virus-related deaths in the state had fallen slightly from the day before.

The number of deaths in France and Italy also slowed, and Wall Street's fear gauge fell to its lowest in two weeks.

"This still looks like a case of over optimism," said Marios Hadjikyriacos, investment analyst at online broker XM.

"While traders are calm for now, will they remain so tranquil in the coming weeks as consumption falls off a cliff, unemployment skyrockets, and corporate earnings forecasts are slashed to oblivion?"

Wall Street's main indexes fell more than 1.5% on Friday, as the pandemic brought a 113-month expansion in U.S. employment to an end, a day after data showed weekly jobless claims surged to a record 6.65 million as a liquidity crunch sparked mass staff furloughs.

Boeing Co said on Sunday that it was extending the suspension of production operations at its Washington state facilities and it would stop paying about 30,000 workers this week.

The planemaker's shares were up 4% in premarket trading after falling more than 60% this year.

The benchmark S&P 500 has lost more than US$7 trillion in market value since its mid-February record high in a 27% plunge, marked by wild day-to-day price swings, as the novel coronavirus spread deeper in the United States and wreaked economic havoc.

Profits for S&P 500 firms are widely expected to drop in the second quarter and investors fear more dire forecasts as demand across sectors including airlines, luxury goods and industrials evaporates.

Delta Airlines fell more than 5% in premarket trading, as Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc cut its stake in the company, while Citigroup and JPMorgan cut their price target on the stock.

Shares of American Airlines, United Airlines and JetBlue fell between 1.7% and 2.9%.

Goldman Sachs was one of the top gainers among Dow components, rising 4.3%, as Wall Street's big banks tracked U.S. Treasury yields higher.

At 07:50 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 770 points or 3.67%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 92.5 points or 3.73%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 283.25 points or 3.77%.