Dow closes down 325 points as investors brace for brutal earnings week

The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the day with a loss of around 325 points, as traders digested a historic oil production agreement and prepared themselves for a brutal week of quarterly earnings.

The S&P 500 closed 1 percent lower, and the Nasdaq ticked upwards by around 0.5 percent.

Members of OPEC and its allies agreed on Sunday to slash output by 9.7 million barrels a day, the single largest cut ever. Prices should return to around $40 a barrel by the end of 2020, analysts predicted. Oil prices sank to 1991 levels after a price war erupted in March between mega-producers Saudi Arabia and Russia.

However, some commodities experts maintained that even this historic cut would not be enough to mitigate the oversupply in the oil market. President Donald Trump, who was involved in brokering the deal, tweeted Monday morning that “The number that OPEC+ is looking to cut is 20 Million Barrels a day.”

Investors are also steeling themselves this week for what could be a brutal round of quarterly earnings. Some of the biggest banks in the U.S. are set to report, with JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo on Tuesday, and Bank of America, Citigroup, and Goldman Sachs to follow later in the week. Banks are struggling to deal with an uncertain earnings guidance, low interest rates, and billions of dollars in loans to support the ailing economy.

For his part, Trump now appears more determined than ever to open up the economy with a “big bang” early next month, according to multiple people familiar with the decision-making process.

“I think we are all expecting or planning for May 1,” one senior administration official told NBC News. National social distancing guidelines are currently set to expire April 30.

Over the weekend, the president said he would weigh multiple factors to arrive at the “toughest” decision of his administration to date. Trump signaled that he has consulted his top health professionals, business leaders and others whom he described as “smart people” in recent days. The ultimate call “will be based on a lot of facts and instincts,” he said.

Trump is set to unveil his “opening our country council” on Tuesday, a task force made up of business leaders, economic experts, medical professionals, and elected officials.

Last week was one of the best market-wide performances for Wall Street. The Dow and the Nasdaq both gained more than 12 percent, and the S&P 500 had its best week since 1974, also up 12 percent.

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