Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow set to drop after first back-to-back gains since February


U.S. stock futures gave up overnight gains and pointed to losses for the Dow at Thursday's open. The Senate late Wednesday unanimously approved a historic $2 trillion coronavirus economic relief package, but 1 million to 4 million Americans are expected to have filed for unemployment benefits last week. The weekly jobless claims report is issued at 8:30 a.m. ET. (CNBC)

* Fed Chairman Powell: 'We're not going to run out of ammunition' to support the economy (CNBC)
* Ex-Trump advisor Gary Cohn: Lawmakers should 'throw as much money as you can' at crisis (CNBC)

The Dow on Wednesday gained over 2%, with Boeing's 24% pop and Nike's 9% gain adding strength. Tuesday's 11% advance for the Dow was the best session since 1933. The two-day advance was the Dow's first back-to-back gains this month. However, heading into Thursday, the Dow was still more than 28% below its February record high.

* Cramer: Wall Street 'has faith' in stimulus plan, but 'total lockdown' still needed (CNBC)"
Ariel's John Rogers: This is a 'once in a lifetime' buying opportunity like '87 and '08 (CNBC)
Hedge fund titans Simons, Griffin, Cohen and Tepper earned $1 billion in 2019 before virus outbreak (CNBC)


The Democratic-controlled House is scheduled to take up the Senate coronavirus relief bill Friday morning. The GOP-controlled Senate unanimously passed the bill, 96-0, a product of days of negotiations with Democrats and the White House. The package includes direct payments to individuals, grants and loans to businesses and more health-care funding. (CNBC)

U.S. coronavirus cases increased to over 69,100 with deaths surpassing 1,000, according to Johns Hopkins University. New York's 33,000 cases are the most of any state by far. New York has seen 366 deaths, nearly triple Washington state's 133 fatalities.

White House health advisor Fauci says US needs to be prepared for second cycle (CNBC)
Mark Cuban warns against rushing back to work, says crisis could define brands 'for decades' (CNBC)

President Donald Trump faces a critical test to assert America's leadership in the global coronavirus fight at Thursday's emergency G-20 meeting being held remotely. The U.S. and China have been trading insults, with Trump calling the outbreak the "Chinese virus" and China suggesting the U.S. military brought the virus there. (CNBC)

Italy, which has had the most fatalities of any country, has seen its death toll top 7,500, more than double China's 3,291 fatalities. Italy's total cases of more than 74,300 are approaching the world's infection leader China, which has 81,700 cases. The U.S. has the third most cases. (CNBC)

Spain, with over 49,500 case, saw its death toll of 3,647 exceed that of China as well. Many European countries are closely following Italy's coronavirus data to forecast what trajectory their own national outbreaks could take. Global coronavirus cases rose to over 480,000 with 21,570 deaths and more than 115,000 recoveries. (CNBC)

Apple (AAPL) is considering delaying the launch of its next iPhone by months, according to a report in the Nikkei Asian Review. That comes amid supply chain disruptions and falling customer demand due to the virus outbreak. Apple has released a new iPhone in September or October in each year since 2011.

McDonald's (MCD) is pulling its all-day breakfast menu to simplify operations as the coronavirus strains restaurant operations. "We will regularly evaluate the situation and look to move back to our regular menu as soon as possible," according to a statement. The launch of the all-day breakfast menu in 2015 helped fuel McDonald's turnaround. (CNBC)

Rich Williams has stepped down as Groupon (GRPN) CEO and Steve Kenzer has stepped down as COO. Both moves are effective immediately, although the daily deals provider said both remain at Groupon. The company did not comment on the reason for the changes. (Seeking Alpha)


Micron Technology (MU) reported better-than-expected adjusted quarterly earnings and revenue. The chipmaker also gave a better than expected financial forecast as it benefits from the shift to home-based work.

Ford's (F) credit rating was cut by S&P to BB+ from BBB-, pushing the rating into junk territory. The rating agency said the automaker's credit metrics were already borderline prior to the coronavirus outbreak.

AMC Theaters (AMC) furloughed more than 600 employees, as the nation's biggest movie theater chain is forced to close cinemas across the country due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Cheesecake Factory (CAKE) has told landlords it won't be able to pay rent on April 1, according to a report in industry publication Eater. CEO David Overton reportedly asked the landlords for patience and help.

Beyond Meat (BYND) was downgraded to sell from neutral at Goldman Sachs, as food service traffic declines as a result of COVID-19. Goldman also cut its price target for the plant-based food maker's stock to $39 per share from $129.


There was considerable trepidation among trading desks over the weekend as many in California, New York, and Massachusetts were told to start trading from home. However, for the most part, it appears traders are adapting. (CNBC)