Morning Brief

What to watch today: Stocks to rise, Trump's social media summit, and storm threatens Gulf Coast



U.S. stock futures were higher this morning after the S&P 500 briefly broke above 3,000 for the first time ever, before finishing just shy of another record close. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell on Wednesday gave stocks a boost, bolstering the case for an interest rate cut later this month, in an appearance before the House Financial Services Committee. Investors will watch for any changes in tone from Powell as he goes before the Senate Banking Committee today. (CNBC)

* Powell says strong June jobs report did not change the Fed outlook (CNBC)
* Powell says he would not resign if asked by President Trump (CNBC)
* Powell explains why a return to the gold standard would be so damaging (CNBC)

Bitcoin, the world's biggest cryptocurrency, sank 12% to about $11,300 this morning, a day after Powell said he has "serious concerns" about Facebook's (FB) planned Libra digital currency. Bitcoin, which had hit a 17-month high just two weeks ago, has tempered some of today's losses. (CNBC)

On today's economic calendar, weekly jobless claims and June consumer price figures are out at 8:30 a.m. ET. This afternoon, federal budget numbers are due at 2 p.m. ET. Meanwhile, Delta Air Lines (DAL) reports quarterly earnings before the bell. There are no major companies reporting earnings after the bell. (CNBC)

* Delta raises 2019 profit outlook, sending shares higher (CNBC)


Residents in several rainsoaked Gulf Coast states were getting ready for a developing storm system that's expected to strengthen into Hurricane Barry before making a weekend landfall. Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has already declared a state of emergency, with mandatory evacuations for parts of state ordered starting this morning. (Weather Channel)

* New Orleans levees could be breached by Mississippi River surge ahead of storm (
* Energy companies are already shutting down Gulf operations (CNBC)

Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards rejected a U.S. claim today that they tried to stop a British tanker in the Gulf a day earlier. Five boats believed to belong to the Iran approached a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf on Wednesday, asking it to stop in Iranian waters close by. But they withdrew after a British warship warned them, U.S. officials said. (Reuters)

* Why the Strait of Hormuz is the world's most important oil chokepoint (CNBC)
* From hot sauce to pop gloss, US products seep into Iran (AP)
* OPEC sees lower 2020 demand for its oil, points to surplus (Reuters)

President Donald Trump is assembling a group of conservative online supporters today for a "social media summit." Executives from Twitter (TWTR) and Facebook (FB) were not invited. Conservative groups like the Heritage Foundation and Turning Point USA have said they would attend. (CNBC & NY Times)

Trump ordered an investigation into France's planned tax on technology companies, a probe that could lead to the U.S. imposing new tariffs or other trade restrictions. The move gives Lighthizer up to a year to investigate if France's digital tax plan would hurt U.S. technology companies. (CNBC)

Nationwide raids targeting thousands of undocumented families will begin Sunday by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the New York Times reported. The operation had been postponed last month after backlash. (New York Times)

Washington, D.C.'s Emergency Planning and Security Fund is bankrupt from unpaid expenses for Trump's Fourth of July bash, his inauguration and other large events, as well as a lack of adequate funding, the city's mayor said. Muriel Bowser is calling for a $1.7 million reimbursement for Trump's "Salute to America." (CNBC)

Sen. Marco Rubio will introduce legislation today to boost the U.S. rare earth industry. China has strengthened its grip on rare earth minerals used in much of today's modern technology, the Florida Republican told the Wall Street Journal, threatening "our national security, limits our economic productivity and robs working-class Americans" jobs.

U.S. lawmakers weighed reforming pot laws in what advocates called a "historic" hearing yesterday, with numerous members of Congress saying they wanted to loosen federal laws, even legalize marijuana. Despite the optimism, lawmakers did not appear to have a clear consensus on the best approach. (CNBC)

* American Eagle becomes the latest retailer to sell Green Growth Brands' CBD products (CNBC)

Amazon (AMZN) is expected to announce today that it plans to retrain a third of its U.S. workforce, or 100,000 workers, by 2025 to help its employees move into more advanced jobs or find new careers. The training will be voluntary. Most of the programs are free. (WSJ)


Shares of Bed Bath & Beyond were under pressure in the premarket after another messy earnings report. While quarterly per-share adjusted earnings beat expectations, the struggling retailer posted a big overall loss due to charges and severance and other costs. Revenue and same-store sales missed estimates.

Shares of Weight Watchers were getting a boost in premarket trading after J.P. Morgan upgraded the stock to "neutral" from "underweight," citing stabilizing subscriber trends. J.P. Morgan also raised its price target to $22 from $17. However, that's really just a catch up to where WW closed Wednesday.


Taylor Swift is this year's world's highest-paid celebrity, with Forbes reporting she pulled in a $185 million pretax income. Last year, she clocked in at $80 million, making her estimated pay grow over 130%. Swift is followed by Kylie Jenner, Kanye West, Lionel Messi and Ed Sheeran.

Financial education should be embedded in education from grade school through college, according to former FDIC Chair Sheila Bair. Young people need to understand debt; its benefits, its traps and how best to use it, she says. (CNBC Invest in You)