Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow to rise, Eldorado buys Caesars, and Trump plans new Iran sanctions



U.S. stock futures were higher this morning, as traders monitor geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and Iran. Stocks set record highs this past week, after the Fed indicated it is open to cutting interest rates. But expect this week's G-20 summit to sway sentiment as President Donald Trump and China's President Xi Jinping meet to discuss trade deal. (CNBC)

* Stocks on track for best first half in 22 years (CNBC)

Bitcoin surged above $11,000, hitting a more than 15-month high, as the Libra digital coin project from Facebook (FB) put cryptocurrencies back into focus. Bitcoin is up more than 170% this year. The currency set an all-time high of more than $19,000 in December 2017 before tanking to under $4,000 a year later and languishing there until just recently. (CNBC)

Shares of Caesars Entertainment (CZR) were jumping more than 16% in premarket trading after Eldorado Resorts (ERI) agreed to buy Caesars in a $17.3 billion cash and stock deal, including debt. Caesars has been under pressure from activist investor Carl Icahn. The combined company will keep the Caesars name. (Reuters)

There are no major earnings to report today and an empty economic calendar. But later in the week, investors get new home sales and consumer confidence numbers tomorrow. Durable goods are out Wednesday. On Thursday, it's weekly jobless claims, real GDP and pending home sales. Friday brings personal income and consumer sentiment.


Trump is set to impose "major" new sanctions against Iran today, ramping up the pressure on the Islamic Republic. Trump said via Twitter that he would impose additional sanctions against Iran in a bid to prevent the country obtaining nuclear weapons. (CNBC)

* Iranians say their 'bones breaking' under US sanctions (Associated Press)
* Iran is already in a 'very dangerous' economic position as US prepares major new sanctions (CNBC)
* White House says US is prepared to negotiate with Iran without preconditions (CNBC)

Chances of a U.S.-Iran conflict escalating into something bigger are "very, very high," though a full-blown war is unlikely, a former advisor to the Iranian government said today. Washington and Tehran nearly came to blows last week after Iran claimed it downed an American drone that entered its territory, despite the U.S. saying it was in international territory. (CNBC)

The Chinese government would like the U.S. to cancel "inappropriate" actions against Chinese companies. Last week, the U.S. Commerce Department added five Chinese technology companies to the so-called entity list that effectively prohibits them from buying parts from American companies, joining China-based Huawei. (CNBC)

* Huawei digs in for a long battle with the U.S. (Washington Post)

The Trump administration is reportedly considering requiring next-generation 5G wireless equipment operated in the U.S. be made outside of China. The move, which follows last month's executive order from the White House, could require tech giants like Nokia and Ericsson to move operations out of China. (WSJ)

Sen. Bernie Sanders, one of the many 2020 Democratic presidential hopefuls, is proposing the elimination of $1.6 trillion of student debt, essentially all the student debt held in the U.S. Sanders' plan, set to be announced today, will pay for it with a tax on Wall Street. (Washington Post)

* Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez: The '60 Minutes' interview (CBS News)

Trump said he never threatened to demote Fed Chairman Jerome Powell, though he maintained he has the authority to do so. "I didn't ever threaten to demote him," Trump said in an interview with NBC's "Meet The Press." The president went on to criticize the Fed for raising interest rates last year, saying Chairman Powell made a mistake. (CNBC)

American Airlines is prepared to further delay returning the 737 Max to its schedule as regulators review Boeing's safety updates. CEO Doug Parker said the process depends, in part, on political factors. Regulators have not yet approved Boeing's fixes since two deadly crashes involving 737 Max models. (CNBC)

A group of 74 medical and public health groups, including the American Medical Association and the American Heart Association, aligned today in calling man-made climate change "a health emergency." "The health, safety and well-being of millions of people in the U.S. have already been harmed, and health risks in the future are dire without urgent action," the groups wrote. (AP)

Defunct children's retail chain Toys R Us is set to open new stores later this year. It's being revived by Tru Kids, a company created to manage the brand and intellectual property of the former chain. Toys R Us is expected to make its come back with roughly six smaller stores and an e-commerce site. (CNBC)

The most powerful rocket from Elon Musk's SpaceX is once again set to take to the skies and beyond. Falcon Heavy is scheduled for its first nighttime launch tonight. NASA has some payloads on board. SpaceX said the launch will be among the most challenging in the company's history. (CNET)

Flight Simulator has the Guinness World Record for longest-running video game series. The new version comes out sometime in 2020. Microsoft (MSFT) said it will support third-party content, but some developers weren't told about the update in advance. (CNBC)


"Toy Story 4" catapulted to the top of the domestic weekend box office with a $118 million haul. The Disney (DIS) and Pixar film had the third-highest debut of 2019 and the highest debut of any "Toy Story" film. However, the movie fell short of analyst expectations, which called for it to make at least $150 million.

Shares of Palatin Technologies (PTN) were soaring about 30% and Amag Pharmaceuticals (AMAG) shares were up about 9% in the premarket. The FDA late Friday approved the sale of Vyleesi, an injection designed to heighten women's sex drive. It was developed by Palatin, which granted exclusive licensing rights to Amag.

Google's competitors are getting ready to meet with Justice Department officials, according to the Wall Street Journal, as the government prepares an antitrust probe of the Alphabet (GOOGL) unit. Rival companies are saying Big Tech are illegally abusing their market power.


The U.S. women's soccer team is facing tough competition today in the round 16 at the World Cup. They play Spain. The Americans easily won their group. Spain finished second in their group. If the U.S. were to win, they would likely meet France in a Friday quarterfinal match in Paris. (USA Today)