Morning Brief

Wall Street continues to post upbeat numbers as May hits halfway point

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BY THE NUMBERS

Futures were lower this morning, but the major averages have logged some impressive numbers midway through May. The Dow and S&P 500 currently have their best May gains since 2009, the Nasdaq since 2005. (CNBC)

* Cramer: 3 reasons why this market rally should be taken seriously (CNBC)
* Goldman: Something strange happening with US economy that could cause rates to jump (CNBC)

Dow component Home Depot (HD) fell about 3 percent in premarket trade after the company posted quarterly earnings that beat Wall Street's estimates. However, it missed on the revenue, dragged down by what the company called a "slow start to the spring selling season." (CNBC)

Amazon.com (AMZN) and other Seattle companies will be hit by a new tax on the city's biggest businesses, which applies to companies grossing at least $20 million per year. Amazon said it would still go ahead with planning for a new downtown office building. (Reuters)

* Amazon is growing its gross profit at a staggering rate (CNBC)

It's a busy day for economic data, beginning at 8:30 a.m. ET with the release of April retail sales and the New York Fed's Empire State Manufacturing Index. At 10 a.m. ET, the National Association of Home Builders releases its May sentiment index. (CNBC)

Dallas Fed President Rob Kaplan and San Francisco Fed President John Williams both have public appearances today. Williams is a voting member of the FOMC for 2018, while Kaplan is not. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Palestinians observed a strike today to mourn the 58 people killed by Israeli troops in a mass protest on the Gaza border. The U.N. Security Council planned to meet to discuss the violence, though it was not clear what might come out of the session. (AP)

* US embassy move, bloodshed add to friction between US and allies (WSJ)

The Trump administration and China are closing in on a deal that would give Chinese technology company ZTE Corp a reprieve from crippling U.S. sanctions in exchange for Beijing removing tariffs on U.S. agricultural products. (WSJ)

Vice President Mike Pence, addressing dozens of Republican party events in recent months, is unsettling a group of Trump's fierce loyalists who fear he is forging a separate power base, according to a report by The New York Times.

President Donald Trump thanked the Waffle House shooter hero, James Shaw Jr., for "quick thinking" after the man pulled a gun out of the hands of a shooter in Nashville. Four people died in the attack. Shaw is credited with saving numerous others. (USA Today)

First Lady Melania Trump underwent a "successful" kidney surgery at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Maryland. There were no complications and she is expected to remain in the hospital for the rest of the week. (Axios)

Officials may have to order thousands of more people to evacuate Hawaii after lava flowing from giant rips in the earth on the flank of the Kilauea volcano threatened highways. Lava from a huge new fissure tore through farmland towards a coastal dirt road. (Reuters)

The U.S. Supreme Court decided to allow states to legalize sports betting, breaking up Nevada's monopoly on the practice. Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban told CNBC that top sports team's values will double on the court's decision.

* Here's where and when you'll be able to gamble on sports legally (CNBC)

Ride-sharing company Uber, previously accused of allowing a toxic work environment to fester, announced today that it's rolling back the use of forced arbitration agreements for employees, riders and drivers. (CNBC)

Alaska Airlines (ALK) plans to close its New York base in September to reinforce its West Coast fleet, asking more than 100 pilots to relocate to California in a matter of months. Alaska currently operates five flights a day from JFK to both LAX and SFO. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Wynn Resorts (WYNN) announced that director John Hagenbuch will not stand for re-election, while Robert Miller submitted his resignation from the casino operator's board. Wynn's biggest shareholder, Elaine Wynn, had been campaigning against Hagenbuch's re-election.

Symantec (SYMC) said an internal accounting probe would likely not result in any material impact on its past financial statement. The cybersecurity software maker also gave an upbeat forecast.

Vipshop (VIPS) earned $1.05 per share for the first quarter, six cents below estimates, although the China-based discount retailer did have slightly better-than-expected revenue. Shares are under pressure after Vipshop issued a weaker-than-expected current quarter revenue forecast.

Switch (SWCH) earned 14 cents per share for its fiscal fourth quarter, compared to an expected loss of 14 cents per share, and the data hosting company saw revenue come in above estimates. It also issued an in-line forecast for the current year.

STMicroelectronics (STM) is forecasting stronger-than-expected 2018 revenue growth, as the chipmaker's business accelerates in the automotive, industrial and other categories.

Vodafone (VOD) CEO Vittorio Colao will step down in October after 10 years on the job. The mobile operator said Finance Director Nick Read will replace Colao.

WATERCOOLER

Fast-food chain KFC's operation in the U.K. is peddling a commemorative chicken bucket, decorated in white with gold trim, in honor of this weekend's royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. (Eater)