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Morning Brief

Wall Street meanders, but new highs still come

Key Points


U.S. stock futures were lower as the fallout over President Donald Trump's firing of FBI Director James Comey continues to dominate the headlines. There was little movement again on Wall Street, though the S&P 500 and Nasdaq managed new record closes. (CNBC)

Wall Street's so-called fear gauge the VIX was actually higher this morning, though the CBOE volatility index remains around 10-year lows as the S&P 500 inches higher. The VIX measures the magnitude of the moves traders expect to see from the S&P in the future. (CNBC Trading Nation)

Two major economic numbers are out at 8:30 a.m. ET: weekly initial jobless claims and the April producer price index. Retail earnings lead the before the bell list, with struggling Macy's (M) and Kohl's (KSS). Nordstrom (JWN) is out after the bell with quarterly results. (CNBC)

Snap, parent of Snapchat, was losing about a quarter of its value in premarket trading after wider than expected loss in its first quarterly since going public in March. Revenue was also short. User growth was also weak, a sign that Facebook's copycat strategy was working. (CNBC)

The co-founders of Snap, including CEO Evan Spiegel who got a $750 million IPO bonus, were losing more than $1 billion each on paper due the plunge in the company's stock. The premarket decline brings Snap near its $17 per share offering price. (CNBC)

Oil was sharply higher again this morning after a fall in U.S. inventories. Meanwhile, OPEC continued to reduce production in April, but output from top exporter Saudi Arabia ticked up last month. (Reuters & CNBC)

Bitcoin surpassed $1,800 this morning to new record highs, rising more than $100 in just two days, driven by comments from policymakers and positive noises around the future of the cryptocurrency such as Japan's recent legalization of it as a payment method. (CNBC)

Globalism and expanded trade policies have helped the world economy more than they've hurt, New York Fed President William Dudley said in a speech in Mumbai, India. (Reuters)


With Comey out at the FBI, acting Director Andrew McCabe is expected to testify this morning before the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 election. (USA Today)

Meanwhile, the Senate Intelligence Committee has subpoenaed Trump's former national security adviser, retired Gen. Michael Flynn, requesting documents believed to be related to the Russian probe. (NBC News)

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein threatened to quit over the depiction of his role in Trump's firing of Comey. Rosenstein was reportedly upset with the White House painting him as the key influence in Tuesday's dismissal of the FBI director. (Washington Post)

Republican Sen. John McCain and Ben Sasse said they would vote against Trump's nominee for U.S. trade representative, Robert Lighthizer, because of his opposition to the North American Free Trade Agreement. (Reuters)

Trump suggested the Republican health-care plan could save up to $900 billion in tax reductions, according to an interview with The Economist. The president also hinted at releasing his tax returns at some point.

As the White House and Republican lawmakers look to replace Obamacare, Aetna (AET) said it'll exit the 2018 Obamacare individual exchanges in Delaware and Nebraska, the two states where it was still offering plans. (Reuters)

The Trump administration is likely to expand a ban on laptops on commercial aircraft to include some European countries, but it's reviewing how to ensure lithium batteries stored in luggage holds do not explode in midair. (Reuters)

Uber suffered a setback today with an advisor to Europe's top court stating the ride-hailing service is providing transportation services and not merely connecting drivers to passengers via technology, which the U.S. firm has previously argued. (CNBC)

Verizon (VZ) has won an intense bidding war to buy Straight Path (STRP) for more than $3 billion, beating out AT&T (T). Straight Path, which has soared nearly 600 percent this year, was losing about 20 percent this morning. (CNBC)

Apple (AAPL) plans to spend $1 billion to double the size of its data center east of Reno, and expects to add at least 100 new employees to run it. That investment is separate from the $1 billion pledge to boost U.S. manufacturing that CEO Tim Cook revealed on CNBC last week.

Tesla (TSLA), which started taking orders for its solar roofs, said the first two styles will be priced at about $21.85 per square foot, slightly lower than the $24.50 per square foot that Consumer Reports had expected. (CNBC)

Twenty-First Century Fox (FOXA) disclosed $10 million of costs "related to settlements of pending and potential litigations" during its latest quarter in the aftermath of sexual harassment allegations at Fox News. Twenty-First Century Fox beat on earnings but missed on revenue. (NY Times)


Whole Foods (WFM) matched forecasts with quarterly earnings and revenue. The company also confirmed earlier reports of changes to its board, appointing five new independent directors, naming a new board chair and new CFO. Whole Foods also increased its dividend by 29 percent.

Symantec (SYMC) matched estimates with quarterly profit and revenue. However, the maker of cybersecurity and antivirus software warned on outlook. The CEO blames the integration of new businesses like Blue Coat and LifeLock.

AIG (AIG) plans to name Brian Duperreault as its new CEO, according to the Wall Street Journal. Duperreault is a one-time lieutenant to former AIG chief executive Hank Greenberg.

FDA regulators turned down a second request by US-based Hikma Pharmaceuticals to market a generic version of GlaxoSmithKline's (GSK) best-selling lung drug Advair.

Merck (MRK) received FDA approval to market its cancer drug Keytruda for the new use of adding it to chemotherapy to treat lung cancer.


Charlie Brown and Snoopy are moving to Canada. Nova Scotia-based DHX Media, which owns rights to the "Teletubbies" kids program, has acquired the entertainment division of the majority stakeholder in the Peanuts brand. (WSJ)