Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow to fall, coronavirus cases spike and budget deficit soars

BY THE NUMBERS

A surge in coronavirus cases and deaths is weighing on investor sentiment this morning, with a good chunk of Wednesday's big gains likely to be erased at the Wall Street open. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq all closed at record highs yesterday, with the S&P 500 and Nasdaq up for three straight days and seven of the past eight sessions. (CNBC)

Treasury Department data shows the budget deficit for the first fourth months of fiscal 2020 at $389.2 billion. That's a 25% gain over the same period last year and already about 40% of the total deficit for fiscal 2019. Over the past 12 months, the gap has been nearly $1.1 trillion as the national debt has swelled past $23 trillion. (CNBC)

On today's economic calendar, the government releases its weekly report on initial jobless claims as well as the January Consumer Price Index at 8:30 a.m. ET. Federal Reserve speeches by Dallas Fed President Robert Kaplan and New York Fed President John Williams on the economic outlook and monetary policy will also be of interest to investors. (CNBC)

This morning's batch of corporate earnings include the latest numbers from AIG (AIG), Alibaba (BABA), Aurora Cannabis (ACB), BorgWarner (BWA), Generac (GNRC), LabCorp (LH), Kraft Heinz (KHC), Waste Management (WM), and Zoetis (ZTS). After-the-bell reports come from Chemours (CC), Expedia (EXPE), Mattel (MAT), Nvidia (NVDA), Roku (ROKU), and Yelp (YELP).

PepsiCo earnings top Wall Street estimates (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

China's confirmed 15,152 new coronavirus cases and 254 additional deaths. That brings the country's total death toll to 1,367 as the number of people infected hit 59,804. China's Hubei province said it's starting to include "clinically diagnosed" cases in its figures and that 13,332 of the new cases fall under that classification. In the U.S., the CDC confirmed a new case in California, taking the total number of cases in the country to 14. (CNBC)

* 'We didn't have a goodbye kiss' — couple separated on quarantined ship count the days to be reunited (CNBC)

Organizers of Mobile World Congress, the world's largest trade show for the mobile phone industry, have canceled the conference slated to start in Barcelona in less than two weeks. Facebook (FB) and other major companies have pulled out of MWC in recent days amid growing fears over the deadly outbreak. (CNBC)

The Iowa Democratic Party chairman is stepping down from his position, eight days after the Iowa caucuses became a national fiasco for the Democrats. "As chair of this party, I am deeply sorry for what happened and bear the responsibility for any failures on behalf of the Iowa Democratic Party," Troy Price said. (NBC News)

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick dropped out of the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, after he barely received support in either the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses or the New Hampshire primary. His departure, which follows Sen. Michael Bennet and Andrew Yang dropping out, leaves eight candidates in the Democratic primary field. (CNBC)

* Joe Biden plans more TV appearances as he looks to rebound from Iowa, New Hampshire losses (CNBC)
Goldman Sachs CEO David Solomon says markets 'don't care' yet about Bernie Sanders (CNBC)
Carlyle's David Rubenstein says Sanders isn't a strong enough threat to unseat Trump (CNBC)

Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, who dropped out of the 2020 presidential race back in August, unveiled her new proposal for digital privacy legislation, including a new federal agency to enforce consumers' privacy rights online. It adds to a growing stack of bills aimed at empowering consumers with new digital rights and keeping tech companies' data collection in check.

Barclays' Chief Executive Jes Staley is being investigated over his links to Jeffrey Epstein, the American financier and convicted sex offender who committed suicide in jail last year. According to Barclays, Staley developed a "professional relationship" with Epstein earlier in his career, but they had no contact since Staley joined the British bank in 2015. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Dow component Cisco Systems (CSCO) reported adjusted quarterly profit of 77 cents per share, beating estimates by a penny, with the networking equipment maker also seeing revenue beat analyst forecasts. However, Cisco did warn of a revenue drop of as much as 3.5% for the current quarter, as global economic uncertainties slow technology investments.

Caterpillar (CAT), also a Dow component, was upgraded to buy from neutral at Goldman Sachs (GS), which said that fundamentals for the heavy equipment maker have improved and that Caterpillar now has a favorable risk/reward profile.

TripAdvisor (TRIP) earned an adjusted 38 cents per share for the fourth quarter, beating consensus by 5 cents, with the travel review site operator's revenue also coming in above forecasts.

Redfin (RDFN) reported a smaller than expected loss for its fourth quarter, and the real estate website operator saw revenue come in ahead of estimates. Redfin also gave a current quarter revenue forecast largely above Wall Street forecasts.

MGM Resorts (MGM) Chief Executive Jim Murren will step down after the casino operator's board picks a successor. Murren has been CEO at MGM Resorts since 2008, but said the company now needs a CEO who can lead the company into the next decade or two.

WATERCOOLER

Kellogg's (K) Incogmeato line will introduce meatless pork products this summer, following the lead of Impossible Foods and Beyond Meat (BYND). The two soy-based pork alternatives will be available in grocery stores in June. (CNBC)