• Crude oil futures contracts plummeted into negative territory for the first time ever.
  • Negative price means oil producers would pay traders to take their oil
  • he Chicago Fed's National Activity Index plunged to minus-4.19 in March

U.S. stocks tumbled on Monday as crude oil futures plummeted into negative territory for the first time ever.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 592.05 points to 23,650.44, while the S&P 500 fell 51.40 points to 2,823.16 and the Nasdaq Composite Index tumbled 89.41 points to 8,560.73.

West Texas Intermediate crude futures for May delivery cratered by an astounding 294.25% to minus-$35.49 per barrel. Brent crude gained 2.27% at $26.15. Gold futures rose 0.66%.

Volume on the New York Stock Exchange totaled 4.39 billion shares with 651 issues advancing, 19 setting new highs, and 2,318 declining, with 14 setting new lows.

Active movers were led by General Electric (GE), Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD) and Occidental Petroleum Corp. (OXY).

“There is still a lot of crude on the water right now that is going to refineries that do not need it,” said Helima Croft, global head of commodities strategy at RBC Capital. “Right now we don’t see any near-term relief for this oil market … we remain really concerned for the outlook on oil near-term.”

“The real problem of the global supply-demand imbalance has started to really manifest itself in prices,” warned Rystad Energy’s head of oil markets Bjornar Tonhaugen. “As production continues relatively unscathed, storages are filling up by the day.”

“The moves in the oil market are really just unbelievable now that we are literally running out of storage space,” said Peter Boockvar, chief investment officer at Bleakley Advisory Group. “I do believe that these [types] of moves is what bottoms are made of and in May and June when things start to reopen again it will go a long way in helping along with the production cuts.”

“The U.S. [crude oil] situation is quite dire,” warned Daniel Hynes, senior commodity strategist at ANZ. “Clearly, being a relatively landlocked market there, we are seeing real pressure on storage as a consequence of the collapse in demand. Without any sort of hope I suppose, at least over the next month about that easing up. I think prices are going to remain under pressure.”

Traders were also glum over a delay by the Senate on a proposal to provide more loans for small businesses. The Senate will vote on a new package on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, more than 165,000 people around the world have died from coronavirus, with the U.S. accounting for about one-fourth of that total.

The Chicago Fed's National Activity Index plunged to minus-4.19 in March, compared to 0.06 in February.

“The worst is yet to come for capital markets,” said Komal Sri-Kumar, president of Sri-Kumar Global Strategies. “Eventually, you’re going to test another low and that is when it will be the time for you to close your eyes and say this is the start of a long term rally again.”

Overnight in Asia, markets finished mixed. China’s Shanghai Composite edged up 0.5%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng slipped 0.21% and Japan’s Nikkei-225 fell 1.15%.

In Europe markets finished higher, as Britain’s FTSE-100 gained 0.45%, France’s CAC-40 climbed 0.65% and Germany’s DAX rose 0.47%.

The euro slipped 0.16% at $1.0858 while the pound sterling edged down 0.54% at $1.2432.

The yield on the 10-year Treasury dropped 4.28% to 0.626% while yield on the 30-year Treasury fell 3.06% to 1.237%.