Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow set to continue last week's upswing as Trump extends social distancing measures

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were pointing to a gain for the Dow Jones Industrial Average at Monday's open after President Donald Trump on Sunday extended national social-distancing guidelines to April 30 and prepared the nation for a death toll that could exceed 100,000 from the coronavirus. The Dow, which closed 4% lower Friday, soared 12.8% for the week, logging its best weekly gain since 1938 and raising questions about whether blue chips had bottomed. (CNBC)

El-Erian: 'We're not in an all clear' for stock index buying, but the sell 'everything' moment has passed (CNBC)
Father of Wall Street's 'fear gauge' sees wild volatility continuing until coronavirus cases peak (CNBC)

However, heading into Monday's session, the Dow was still nearly 27% off last month's record highs. The yield on the 10-year Treasury remained below 1% early Monday. U.S. oil prices sank below $20 per barrel, near 18-year lows hit earlier this month. (CNBC)

Goldman on how the coronavirus shock will 'permanently alter' energy markets (CNBC)
Dan Yergin: Oil demand could decline by 20 million barrels a day in April (CNBC)

Mortgage bankers are warning that Federal Reserve mortgage purchases are unbalancing the home-lending market. In addition to the Fed's extraordinary no limit fixed-income purchases, Wall Street analysts and economists said the central bank could take a passive interest in the performance of the stock market for the first time ever. (CNBC)

In a sign of how sales of homes fared during the earlier days of the coronavirus in the U.S., the National Association of Realtors is out with pending home sales for February at 10 a.m. ET, with forecasts calling for a 0.5 percent increase after a 5.2 percent jump in January. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

The U.S., which has the most known coronavirus infections in the world, saw confirmed cases jump to over 143,000 with 2,513 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University data. New York has about 40% of those cases and fatalities. A field hospital has been set up inside New York's Central Park to treat coronavirus patients. (CNBC)

Global coronavirus cases increased to over 730,000 with 34,685 deaths and more than 149,000 recoveries. Italy, No. 2 to the U.S. in cases with about 97,700, has the worst death toll. Italy's 10,779 fatalities are more than three times as many as China's 3,308. Spain surpassed China in infections, with over 85,000 cases, and more than doubled China's death toll at 6,803. (CNBC)

Abbott Laboratories received FDA emergency use authorization on Friday for a test that can detect coronavirus in five minutes. Johnson & Johnson said Monday that human testing of its experimental coronavirus vaccine would begin by September, but it could take until early 2021 to be available for emergency use authorization. (CNBC)

Sanofi and Regeneron expand testing of potential coronavirus treatment (Reuters)
Novartis CEO: Malaria drug is biggest hope against coronavirus (Swiss newspaper SonntagsZeitung)
Gilead pauses access to experimental COVID-19 drug due to 'overwhelming demand' (Stat)

Amazon warehouse workers in New York City's Staten Island plan to strike Monday to call attention to what they claim is the lack of protections after an employee tested positive for the coronavirus last week. Amazon told CNBC, "We are following all guidelines from local health officials and are taking extreme measures to ensure the safety of employees at our site. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Apple (AAPL) could see an 18% year-over-year drop in iPhone orders during the current quarter, according to a Reuters report. The production ramp-up for new phones that work with next-generation 5G networks has been postponed.

Cal-Maine Foods (CALM), the nation's largest egg producer, reported quarterly earnings of 28 cents per share, 10 cents a share above estimates, Revenue also beat forecasts. Cal-Maine said it is not seeing any supply chain disruptions as a result of the coronavirus outbreak.

La-Z-Boy (LZB) furloughed 6,800 workers, cut the pay of senior management by 50%, and of salaried workers by 25%. The furniture maker also eliminated its June dividend and stopped its share repurchase program indefinitely.

United Technologies (UTX) and Raytheon (RTN) have received all regulatory approvals for their all-stock merger, and expect to close the deal prior to this coming Friday's open. United Technologies will be renamed Raytheon Technologies and trade under the ticker RTX. The Carrier and Otis businesses of United Technologies will become separate publicly traded companies, trading under ticker symbols CARR and OTIS, respectively.

Eldorado Resorts' (ERI) deal to buy rival casino operator Caesars Entertainment (CZR) could be in danger, according to the New York Post. The paper said regulators have delayed their review of the $17.3 billion deal due to the virus outbreak, while the casino industry takes a hard hit from ongoing closures.

Investor advisory firm ISS said retired basketball superstar Shaquille O'Neal should not be reelected to the board of the Papa John's (PZZA) pizza chain, according to a Bloomberg report. ISS said O'Neal skipped too many board meetings and that shareholders should vote against his reelection at the April 23 annual meeting.

WATERCOOLER

Facebook (FB) on Monday pledged $100 million in financing and advertising spending to support news organizations, including local publishers in the U.S., reeling from pressure due to the coronavirus pandemic. News publishers, especially print media, have taken the brunt as many advertisers pulled their marketing budgets. (Reuters)