Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow futures hit 'limit up' as deal nears on a $2 trillion stimulus

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures hit their 5% "limit up" levels Tuesday as top Senate and White House officials neared a $2 trillion deal to rescue the economy from the coronavirus crisis. The Dow closed down 582 points or 3.1% on Monday after the Senate failed for a second time in less than 24 hours to advance the stimulus bill. (CNBC)

Investors were more concerned about talks on Capitol Hill than encouraged by the Federal Reserve's announcement Monday of an open-ended asset purchase program. As of Monday's close, the lowest since November 2016, the Dow was down 37% from its record highs last month. (CNBC)

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi came out with House Democrats' $2.5 trillion bill. President Donald Trump, meanwhile, suggested he wants to urge businesses to reopen, sooner rather than later. "I'm not looking at months," the president said at a news conference Monday evening.

Barry Sternlicht: Trump 'kind of right' on wanting to get US back to work soon (CNBC)
Trump signs executive order to prevent price gouging, hoarding of medical supplies (The Hill)

On the economic calendar, the government is out with new home sales for February at 10 a.m. ET. Economists expect a 0.8 percent decline following a 7.9 percent jump in January. This afternoon, Dow component Nike (NKE) reports quarterly earnings after the closing bell today.

Facing the dual crises of falling demand due to the coronavirus and sinking oil prices, Chevron (CVX) plans to cut capital spending plans for 2020 by 20%, and will suspend its share buyback program. But the energy giant said it has no plans to cut its dividend. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said today that he and the head of the International Olympic Committee agreed on the idea of delaying the Tokyo Olympics by about one year. Despite insisting for months the summer games would go ahead as planned, Abe this week said a delay may be unavoidable. (Reuters)

The U.K. issued a stay-at-home order, starting Tuesday, allowing only essential trips. All nonessential public buildings and places are closed, ranging from libraries to churches, gyms and playgrounds. All social events including weddings and baptisms are also prohibited. (CNBC)

In China, the two-month lockdown of most of Hubei province was lifted. However, Wuhan, the city in the province where the coronavirus originated in December, remains locked down until April 8. An early look at Chinese business conditions in March shows little indication of economic recovery, according to the China Beige Book. (AP & CNBC)

Global coronavirus cases approached 384,000 with 16,594 deaths and nearly 102,000 recoveries, according to Johns Hopkins University data. China, at about 81,500 cases, has just 21% of the infections around the world as the spread in European nations and the United States continued to spike higher.

Italy, the hardest-hit country outside China, saw cases rise to nearly 64,000. The death toll in Italy of 6,077 was nearly double that of China and the highest in the world. Cases in America increased to 46,450 with 593 deaths. Nearly half the U.S. cases and the highest U.S. death toll of 188 were in New York state. (CNBC)

Gilead's potential coronavirus treatment gets key FDA designation (Reuters)

Top U.S. airlines are working on plans for a possible voluntary shutdown of nearly all U.S. passenger flights, industry and federal officials told The Wall Street Journal. The government was also talking about ordering such a move, the Journal said. The carriers and the White House have made no final decisions.

STOCKS TO WATCH

IHS Markit (INFO): The financial information provider reported quarterly profit of 66 cents per share, 2 cents a share above estimates. Revenue came in essentially in line with forecasts. The company said it still expects double-digit earnings growth this year and that it has a strong plan to deal with changing market dynamics.

Twitter (TWTR): Twitter withdrew its guidance, as ad sales decline due to the coronavirus outbreak. Twitter noted, however, that the virus outbreak has also resulted in a jump in active users.

Amazon (AMZN): Amazon suspended more than 3,900 selling accounts on its U.S. platform for violating its fair pricing policies. The retail giant said it is sharing information with federal and state regulators about sellers it thinks are engaging in price gouging.

Mondelez (MDLZ): Mondelez will increase hourly wages by $2 and also pay a $125 weekly bonus for sales representatives. The snack maker is among those dealing with a surge in demand for food and household products.

WATERCOOLER

The coronavirus restrictions and stay-at-home orders across the nation may turn out to be a "tipping point" in favor of working from home. "We plodded along at about 10% growth a year for the last 10 years, but I foresee that this is going to really accelerate the trend," Kate Lister, president of Global Workplace Analytics, told CNBC.