Coronavirus, HSBC earnings, oil prices in focus

Stocks in Japan were set to edge higher at the open as oil prices plummeted overnight on fears that worldwide crude storage capacity will soon be filled as a result of weak demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

The Nikkei futures contract in Chicago was at 19,850 while its counterpart in Osaka was at 19,800. That compared against the Nikkei 225’s last close at 19,783.22.

Meanwhile, shares in Australia were poised to edge lower. The SPI futures contract was at 5,313, as compared to the S&P/ASX 200’s last close at 5,321.40.

On the earnings front, HSBC is expected to post its first-quarter results on Tuesday.

Oil prices will be watched by investors on Tuesday, after West Texas Intermediate for June delivery plunged more than 24% overnight to settle at $12.78 per barrel. International benchmark Brent crude futures also saw sharp losses as the contract fell 6.76% to $19.99 per barrel.

Meanwhile, developments on the coronavirus front will also be monitored. Globally, more than 3 million people have been infected while at least 208,131 lives have been taken, according to data compiled by John Hopkins University.

Overnight stateside, the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed 358.51 points higher at 24,133.78 — its first close above 24,000 since April 17. The S&P 500 added 1.5% to close at 2,878.48 while the Nasdaq Composite rose 1.1% to end its trading day at 8,730.16

Monday’s gains put the S&P 500 on pace for its biggest one-month gain since 1987 with an 11.4% surge in April. The Dow is up 10.1% month to date; that would be its best monthly performance since 2002. A partial reopening of the economy in the U.S. — in Alaska, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and others — is boosting investor sentiment.

The U.S. dollar index, which tracks the greenback against a basket of its peers, was at 100.041 after earlier dipping below the 100 mark.

The Japanese yen traded at 107.27 per dollar after strengthening from levels above 107.4 yesterday. The Australian dollar changed hands at $0.6447 after rising from levels below $0.642 yesterday.

What’s on tap for Tuesday:

  • Hong Kong: HSBC earnings for the first quarter

— CNBC’s Fred Imbert contributed to this report.

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