What's moving markets today: April 8, 2019

By CNN Business

Updated 6:28 p.m. ET, April 8, 2019
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3:46 p.m. ET, April 8, 2019

US oil prices finish above $64 a barrel for the first time since Halloween

From CNN Business' Matt Egan

Crude oil prices have now spiked more than 50% from their Christmas Eve lows.

US oil jumped another 2.1% on Monday to settle above $64 a barrel for the first time since Halloween.

The latest rally was sparked in part by a surge of violence in OPEC member Libya, which has deepened concerns about diminished supply.

Libya's UN-backed government said it repelled an attack by rebels over the weekend after briefly losing control of Tripoli's airport.

"This threatens to interrupt Libya’s 1.3 million bpd of oil production and just adds to the geopolitical tensions in the oil market," Brian Kessens, managing partner at energy investment firm Tortoise, said in a report on Monday.

The recovery in oil prices since tumbling to $42 late last year has been driven primarily by OPEC's aggressive supply cuts. US sanctions on Venezuela and Iran have put additional pressure on crude.

Monday's oil rally lifted energy stocks on an otherwise negative day on Wall Street. Schlumberger (SLB), Concho Resources (CXO) and Diamondback Energy (FANG) rose more than 1% apiece.

3:38 p.m. ET, April 8, 2019

Marley-branded drink maker soars on deal with Walmart

From CNN Business' Paul R. La Monica

Shareholders of New Age Beverages were jamming Monday after the company announced a new deal to distribute Marley-branded drinks with Walmart.

New Age Beverages (NBEV) surged more than 30% on the news. The company said Walmart (WMT) will start selling Marley Mate drinks, named after legendary reggae singer Bob Marley, this month.

The Walmart drinks will not contain any CBD -- the non psychoactive component derived from cannabis that many think has health benefits -- in them.

But New Age Beverages CEO Brent Willis told CNN Business earlier this year that the company does have a deal to make Marley-branded CBD drinks.

New Age Beverages, along with several Canadian cannabis stocks, have been on fire over the past year after industrial protection of hemp was legalized in the US following the passage of the Farm Bill and several states have also voted to allow for recreational and medical marijuana sales.

The drinks at Walmart will come in Be Jammin' Berry, Ya Mon Mint and Jamaican Me Mango flavors. 

2:21 p.m. ET, April 8, 2019

AMC soars 7% on 'Avengers: Endgame' ticket sales

From CNN Business' Paul R. La Monica

Thanos may have wiped out half the planet in "Infinity War" with a snap last year. But it doesn't look like movie theater chain AMC is going to have many (or any) empty seats for the tons of screenings of the eagerly awaited "Avengers: Endgame" movie later this month.

Shares of AMC Entertainment (AMC) soared more than 7% Monday after B. Riley FBR analyst Eric Wold upgraded the stock to a "buy" — citing the strong advance ticket sales for "Avengers: Endgame." Ticket site Fandango said the movie broke a single-day record for pre-sales.

The strong sales are even more impressive given that AMC, as well as other sites, had some problems handling all the demand at first. Both the AMC and Fandango sites crashed on several occasions, leading some fans to go into a Hulk-like rage.

But investors clearly are betting that "Endgame" will be just the first of many box office blockbusters that fans will be lining up for. "Toy Story 4," live action versions of "The Lion King" and "Aladdin" and the ninth episode of "Star Wars" all hit theaters later this year. And those, like "Endgame" are all Disney (DIS) films by the way.

1:58 p.m. ET, April 8, 2019

Dollar Tree falls after activist investor backs off

From CNN Business' Nathaniel Meyersohn

Dollar Tree (DLTR) fell 3% on Monday after an activist investor backed away from a proxy fight at the company.

Activist group Starboard had been pushing the dollar chain to make changes, but withdrew its nominations for Dollar Tree's board of directors late Friday.

Dollar Tree had been selling everything for $1, and Starboard wanted Dollar Tree to raise its prices to offset inflation.

Last month, Dollar Tree said it would start testing products at higher prices. That decision led Starboard to walk away.

Dollar Tree also said last month that it would close hundreds of Family Dollar stores this year. Dollar Tree bought Family Dollar in 2015 for $8.5 billion, but Family Dollar has struggled.

2:14 p.m. ET, April 8, 2019

GE's terrible day — illustrated in one chart

From CNN Business' Jordan Valinsky

General Electric (GE) shares are down 8% after a JPMorgan analyst downgraded the stock earlier Monday:

  • The stock is still up nearly 30% for the year.
12:17 p.m. ET, April 8, 2019

Dow slides 150 points, led lower by slumping Boeing

From CNN Business' Matt Egan

The S&P 500's seven-day winning streak is in jeopardy.

US stocks were under pressure early Monday afternoon.

  • The Dow declined 150 points, or 0.6%
  • The S&P 500 fell 0.3%, on track to snap its longest winning streak since October 2017
  • And the Nasdaq dipped 0.2%

The Dow's losses were magnified by Boeing, which continues to grapple with a safety crisis. Boeing (BA) dropped 5% after announcing it will cut its 737 Max production pace.

General Electric (GE) tumbled 7%, leading the way lower in the S&P 500, after influential JPMorgan analyst C. Stephen Tusa, Jr. downgraded the stock in a 123-page report.

The energy sector (XLE) was the biggest winner Monday, buoyed by the red-hot crude market. US oil prices climbed nearly 2% to $64.20 a barrel. Schlumberger (SLB), Cabot Oil & Gas (COG) and Concho Resources (CXO) rose sharply.

11:45 a.m. ET, April 8, 2019

Billionaire says wealth inequality is a 'national emergency'

From CNN Business' Jordan Valinsky

Billionaire investor Ray Dalio says capitalism needs to be "reformed" and that the nation's wealth inequality is a "national emergency."

"I think the American dream is lost," Dalio told CBS News' "60 Minutes" last night. Dalio, the chairman of hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, said the US economy is not "redistributing opportunity."

He added:

We can call it a wealth gap, you can call it an income gap. And so I think that if I was the president of the United States ... what I would do is recognize that this is a national emergency."

Dalio also supports the idea that taxes on billionaires be raised. He said the idea of cutting taxes on the very wealth promotes productivity "doesn't make any sense to me at all."

10:38 a.m. ET, April 8, 2019

Sony surges after Third Point reportedly takes a stake

From CNN Business' Jordan Valinsky

Sony's (SNE) stock is surging 7% after Reuters reported that Daniel Loeb's hedge fund is building a stake in the electronics company.

It's unknown how much of a stake Loeb's Third Point has built in Sony. Sources told Reuters that the firm is "raising a dedicated investment vehicle, targeting between $500 million and $1 billion in capital, so it can buy more Sony shares."

Third Point did not immediately reply to CNN Business' request for comment.

10:17 a.m. ET, April 8, 2019

GE stock slides 6% after downgrade

From CNN Business' Jordan Valinsky

Shares of GE (GE) are sliding nearly 6% after JPMorgan analyst Stephen Tusa slashed the stock from a neutral to underweight and cut its price target to $5 from $6 per share.

"We believe many investors are underestimating the severity of the challenges and underlying risks at GE, while overestimating the value of small positives," Tusa wrote in a note to clients.

GE CEO Larry Culp warned a few weeks ago that the company is facing a tough year ahead.

"GE's challenges in 2019 are complex but clear," Culp said in a statement. "We are facing them head on as we execute our strategic priorities to improve our financial position and strengthen our businesses."