Morning Brief

What to watch today: Stock futures under pressure after S&P 500′s best week since 1974


Dow futures were pointing to a drop of about 100 points, less than 1%, at Monday's open. Similar projected declines for the S&P 500 were coming after the index's 12.1% advance last week, its best week since 1974. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged nearly 12.7%. As of Thursday's stronger close, the Dow and S&P 500 were less than 20% off their February record highs. The stock market was closed for Good Friday. (CNBC)

Depressed oil prices got an initial bounce Monday, before moving toward the flat line, a day after OPEC and its oil allies finalized a deal to cut production by 9.7 million barrels per day, the single largest output cut in history. Oil prices are more than 60% off their 52-week highs of a year ago, suffering from a collapse in demand due to the pandemic and the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia. (CNBC)


Even as increases in new daily cases continued to slow in America, the United States surpassed Italy on Saturday to become the nation with the most coronavirus deaths. Cumulative U.S. cases rose to over 557,500 with 22,109 deaths.

White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci expressed "cautious optimism" Sunday about the slowing of the outbreak in the U.S., and suggested parts of the country may start to reopen as soon as May. (CNBC)

When pressed in Sunday's interview on CNN, Fauci said more U.S. lives could have been saved had stricter measures been taken earlier. By Sunday evening, Trump retweeted a post that called for firing Fauci, the nation's top infectious disease expert. (NY Times)

Global coronavirus cases neared 1.9 million, according to Johns Hopkins University data on Monday. Deaths worldwide reached 114,979. While the U.S. has the most cases and more than the next three nations; Spain, Italy and France;  combined. In Spain, which reported 3,477 new cases and a daily rise of 517 deaths, construction and factory workers returned to work Monday as the government lifted some of the most stringent lockdown measures. (CNBC)

Amazon is putting new grocery delivery customers on a wait list and curtailing shopping hours at some Whole Foods stores to prioritize orders from existing customers buying food online during the coronavirus outbreak. In recent weeks, Amazon increased the number of Whole Foods offering grocery pickup ​to more than 150 locations, up from 80 previously, (Reuters)

Severe weather has swept across the South, killing at least 18 people and damaging hundreds of homes from Louisiana into the Appalachian Mountains. Many people spent part of the night early Monday sheltering in basements, closets and bathroom tubs as sirens wailed to warn of possible tornadoes. (AP)


Caterpillar (CAT): The heavy equipment maker's stock was downgraded to "underperform" from "neutral" at Bank of America Securities, which points to a severe capital spending downturn in key Caterpillar markets.

Dunkin' Brands (DNKN): Credit Suisse gave the restaurant chain's stock a double-upgrade to "outperform" from "underperform," noting both valuation and the company's 100% franchised business model. The firm said that model is one of the most attractive in the restaurant industry and warrants a premium to its peers.

Palo Alto Networks (PANW): The cybersecurity firm was upgraded to "buy" from "hold" at Rosenblatt Securities, which said Palo Alto is benefitting from the current work-at-home trend.

Walt Disney (DIS): Disney is furloughing 43,000 workers at its Walt Disney World resort in Florida, while allowing them to keep their benefits for up to a year. Walt Disney World closed in mid-March due to the coronavirus outbreak.

JPMorgan Chase (JPM): The bank is raising borrowing standards for most new home mortgage loans, according to a Reuters report. The move is designed to lessen lending risk stemming from the virus outbreak, with borrowers now needing a 20% down payment and a credit score of at least 700.

Macy's (M): Macy's has hired investment bank Lazard (LAZ) to explore the retailer's options for boosting its finances, according to Reuters.

Apple (AAPL), Alphabet (GOOGL): Apple and Alphabet's Google unit will work together to create tracking technology aimed at slowing the spread of the coronavirus.

Triumph Group (TGI): The aerospace parts maker is furloughing about 2,300 workers in the U.S. and Europe, as the Boeing supplier deals with the shutdown of the jet maker's commercial jet production.

Honeywell (HON): Honeywell signed a deal to borrow $1.5 billion from Citibank and JPMorgan Chase, to be used for general corporate purposes. The conglomerate said the loan agreement does not restrict its ability to pay its dividend.

Facebook (FB): Facebook ad rates fell up to 25% in March compared to the previous month, according to studies compiled by The Wall Street Journal. This comes even as more people stay at home and spend more time on social media.

Dish Network (DISH): Dish may not be able to build a planned wireless network, according to the New York Post. A source who had expected to be in a lending group told the paper that the financing may not come through due to the virus outbreak.

Gilead Sciences (GILD): Gilead's drug remdesivir showed promise in a preliminary coronavirus trial, according to a report published in The New England Journal of Medicine. The report said the drug may lower the risk of death in severely ill patients.

Boeing (BA): Boeing is considering a range of options to cut its payroll by 10%, according to sources familiar with the plan who spoke to CNBC.

Travelers (TRV): Travelers and State Farm are the latest auto insurers to slash premiums and offer refunds to auto insurance customers, as driving volume plunges due to the virus outbreak.

Okta (OKTA): Okta was upgraded to "outperform" from "market perform" at BMO Capital Markets, which expects the maker of identity management software to benefit from virus-induced changes to how people live and work.


The national average for a gallon of gas, $1.883, according to the latest data from AAA,  is the cheapest in more than four years. But with at least 42 states under stay-at-home orders, Americans can't take advantage of cheaper fuel. "Lower oil prices are unlikely to be the jet fuel for consumption that they would be in a more normal environment," said Bank of America in a recent note to clients. (CNBC)