Day Ahead: Top 3 Things to Watch for April 23

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Investing.com – Oil prices dictated stock market direction again today, with equities following a rebound in crude to close higher.

And volatile trade is expected to continue for the commodity. Fundamentals continue to point to overwhelming supply and nonexistent demand but traders must also grapple with uncharted price levels and jawboning from global leaders.

Oil will continue to be in focus tomorrow. More data on employment will arrive and there will be earnings from the semiconductor sector.

Here are three things that could move the markets Thursday.

1. Oil Storage Space Running out Soon?

Oil futures ventured into negative territory for the first time in part because of holders facing rising storage costs with few buyers willing to take delivery.

And the Energy Information Administration said late today that storage capacity at the Cushing, Okla. hub was about 76 million barrels, lower than many in the market thought.

In its inventory report today the EIA put Cushing supplies at 60 million barrels.

Over the past four weeks showed U.S. crude inventories as a whole have grown by a cumulative 65 million barrels. That averages a growth of 16.25 million barrels per week. If all that oil came to Cushing, the hub could fill up by next week.

In addition, President Donald Trump’s Twitter feed will be closely watched for any new moves by the administration or updates on assertions Trump has already made.

Just as the stock market open on Tuesday, Trump pledged his support for U.S. oil and gas companies and said the Treasury and Energy secretaries had been charged with creating a plan to get funds to those companies. Today, Trump said the Navy had been instructed to destroy Iranian gunboats if they harass U.S. ships.

Any details on a plan to help U.S. shale oil producers or any escalation in tensions between the U.S. and Iran could call the tune for sentiment. As could any jawboning from major oil producers.

2. Another 4 Million Jobless Claims Expected

Employment will be in focus before the bell as weekly initial jobless numbers are reported.

The Labor department will issues its measure of first-time applications for unemployment benefits at 8:30 AM ET (12:30 GMT).

Economists are expecting a smaller, but still historically huge, rise in claims, compared with the week before. The consensus is for a rise in claims of 4.2 million, according to forecasts compiled by Investing.com.

That would bring the total number of newly unemployed to more than 26 million in the past five weeks.

At 9:45 AM ET, Markit will release its preliminary purchasing managers’ indexes for April.

The manufacturing PMI is expected to have dropped to 38 form 48.5 in March. The services PMI is seen sinking to 31.5 from 39.8, further into record low territory.

And at 10:00 AM ET the latest new home sales figures arrive.

New home sales are expected to have plunged 15% in March to an annual rate of 645,000.

3. Intel Earnings on Tap

On the earnings front, Intel (NASDAQ:INTC) will bring attention to the chip sector after the bell.

Analysts expect the company to report a profit of $1.28 per share on revenue of about $18.6 billion.

Today, Jefferies boosted its price target on the stock to $62 from $53 per share on expectations revenue would top forecasts due to work-from-home components and data center strength.

Earlier this month CEO Bob Swan told Bloomberg earlier this month that the chipmaker is starting to see demand pick up as more people work from home.

Domino’s Pizza (NYSE:DPZ) will report before the bell, another company expected to have shown resilience during the lockdown.

On average, analysts predict a profit of $2.13 per share on sales of about $841 million.

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