Top Stories
Top Stories
Morning Brief

What to watch today: Wall Street records, Trump calls off Iran strike, and Philly refinery blast

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were drifting and oil prices were higher this morning as tensions with Iran escalate. But it was hopes for a Fed interest rate cut next month that propelled the S&P 500 to an all-time high close Thursday, beating out the prior record from April 30. The Dow closed Thursday within 75 points of its first record close since Oct. 3, 2018. Both the Dow and S&P 500 erased their sharp May losses with Thursday's nearly 1% gains. (CNBC)

* Gold prices spike to nearly 6-year highs above $1,400 per ounce (CNBC)
* 10-Year Treasury yield back above 2% after dip below that level for first time in almost 3 years (CNBC)

President Donald Trump had approved military strikes on Iran in retaliation for shooting down of U.S. spy drone, but he pulled back from launching the attacks, The New York Times reported. Officials were still expecting the operation to go ahead as late as 7 p.m. ET last night. The Times said it was not clear why Trump reversed course.

* US aviation authority issues order prohibiting flights over some Iran-controlled airspace (CNBC & Reuters)
* Iran denies report that Trump contacted Iran via Oman that attacks were imminent (Reuters)

Expect a light U.S. economic calendar today. The National Association of Realtors is out with existing home sales for May at 10 a.m. ET. CarMax (KMX) releases its quarterly earnings before today's opening bell. No other earnings reports are on the schedule. (CNBC)

* Trump economy is starting to look more and more like the Obama economy (CNBC)

Shares of workplace communications platform Slack (WORK) were higher in the premarket, after the stock surged 48.5% in its debut on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday. Slack became a publicly traded stock through a direct listing rather than a traditional initial public offering. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

A massive fire and series of explosions rocked a South Philadelphia refinery, the largest on the East Coast, early this morning. People as far away as South Jersey felt the blasts. The refinery processes 335,000 barrels of crude oil every day at two plants at the complex. Gasoline futures surged about 3% on the news. (CNBC)

All but two of the 24 declared Democrats running for president converge on South Carolina today for the "World Famous Fish Fry," hosted by Congressman Jim Clyburn. "Every politician that's worth their salt wants to get up on the stage and get introduced by Jim Clyburn," said the former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party. (USA Today)

* Biden's comments on segregationist senators loom over big South Carolina weekend (USA Today)

Roy Moore, the former judge accused of sexual misconduct with teens decades ago, announced he'll run again for a U.S. Senate from Alabama, defying the wishes of Trump and the GOP. Moore's decision likely makes it harder for Republicans to hold their 53-47 Senate majority. (CNBC)

Huawei may demand more royalties from U.S. firms for technology they're using that's been patented by the Chinese telecom giant, experts say. Huawei has been fighting back against continued pressure from Washington. Last week, Reuters reported that Huawei had asked Verizon to pay $1 billion in royalties for more than 230 Huawei patents (CNBC)

T-Mobile US (TMUS) is not as close to selling assets to Dish Network (DISH) as many think. T-Mobile is seeking to sell assets to win approval for its deal to buy rival Sprint (S) (New York Post)

UnitedHealth Group (UNH) has reportedly agreed to buy privately held payment processing firm Equian for about $3.2 billion. The Wall Street Journal said the health insurer would likely merge Equian into its Optum health services arm.

Healthcare companies have long said they're not worried about Amazon's (AMZN) venture into the health business. But in a recent lawsuit, CVS argues that Amazon could pose a threat by negotiating directly with insurers, bypassing its lucrative pharmacy benefits manager business. (CNBC)

Chevron Phillips Chemical, a joint venture of Chevron (CVX) and Phillips 66 (PSX), has bid to acquire Nova Chemicals for more than $15 billion, including debt. Nova is owned by Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth fund Mubadala Investment Co., which has been exploring a sale of Nova since the beginning of the year. (Reuters)

Delta Air Lines (DAL) bought a 4.3% stake in the parent company of Korean Air Lines, and said it would like to increase that stake to 10% Korean Air has had a joint venture with Delta since last year. (Reuters)

JetBlue Airways (JBLU) plans to expand service to Europe from the East Coast of the U.S. The New York-based carrier said it will swap 13 of its existing Airbus orders in favor of the newly unveiled A321XLR, to link Boston and New York with a host of European cities as the carrier prepares to take on rivals that dominate trans-Atlantic air travel. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Red Hat (RHT) beat consensus earnings and revenue estimates in its fiscal first quarter, thanks in part to subscription growth. Red Hat, a provider of open source software solutions, is in the process of being acquired by IBM (IBM).

Canopy Growth (CGC) reported a wider than expected loss for its latest quarter, although the Canada-based cannabis producer's revenue did beat analyst estimates. Canopy's sales were helped by increased production capacity as well as moves to boost its retail operations following Canada's legalization of recreational marijuana use.

Korn Ferry (KFY) matched analyst estimates with adjusted quarterly profit of 88 cents per share, but the consulting firm's revenue was short of forecasts. Korn Ferry also gave a current quarter earnings outlook that is largely below consensus estimates.

WATERCOOLER

If you need a vitamin D fix, you'll have some extra time from today's Summer Solstice, the longest day of the year. New York and Seattle, you'll be getting more than 15 hours of sunlight. Los Angeles, Dallas and Atlanta, you'll get about 14 hours. (USA Today)