Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow to bounce after two-session drop of over 1,200 points

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were pointing to a rebound for the Dow at this morning's open. Concerns about the unprecedented plunge in oil prices slammed the Dow again Tuesday, wiping out more than 1,200 points this week. Blue chips dropped 2.4% on Monday and 2.7% on Tuesday. (CNBC)

Bridgewater's Ray Dalio says coronavirus marks the start of a 'new future' (CNBC)
* Oaktree's investor Howard Marks calls the oil crash 'completely rational' (CNBC)

West Texas Intermediate crude, the American benchmark, stabilized Wednesday as the oil meltdown spread to Brent crude, the international standard, early on. Brent turned higher later Wednesday morning. The United States Oil Fund, an exchange-traded security, fell another 5% on Wednesday, a day after sinking over 25%. (CNBC)

BofA raises gold forecast by a whopping $1,000 to $3,000 because of zero rates (CNBC Pro)

Delta Air Lines on this morning reported a narrower than expected loss of 51 cents per share in its first quarter on revenue of $8.59 billion, reflecting the carnage in the airline industry as demand for travel dried up due to the virus. Delta sees its daily cash burn moderating. The airline also expects $5.4 billion in government support. (CNBC)

* Macy's weighs raising as much as $5 billion in debt to weather coronavirus crisis (CNBC)

Mortgage volume appears to be settling into a new normal, as refinance demand stays high and purchase demand sits at a five-year low. Total mortgage application volume decreased 0.3% last week. The average contract interest rate for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with conforming loan balances was unchanged at 3.45%. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

The House is set to vote Thursday on the $484 billion coronavirus relief package that unanimously passed the Senate on Tuesday evening. The measure injects another $310 billion into a key loan fund designed to keep employees on small company payrolls. It also includes $75 billion in hospital aid and $25 billion for virus testing. (CNBC)

Trump taps Puritan Medical to ramp up coronavirus swab testing production (CNBC)
Trump to bar immigration for family of US citizens, foreign workers for 60 Days (WSJ)

The lack of widespread testing for Covid-19 is seen as an impediment to reopening the economy as U.S. cases top 825,000 and deaths surpass 45,000. On Tuesday, White House health advisor Dr. Deborah Birx warned Americans to prepare to see more fatalities, particularly in cities, as the pandemic in the U.S. moves past peak and infection rates decline. (CNBC)

Quest Diagnostics (DGX) said it's started testing for Covid-19 antibodies in its medical labs, using tests made by Abbott Laboratories (ABT) and a unit of PerkinElmer (PKI).

Two people in Santa Clara County, California, who died on Feb. 6 and Feb. 17 are now believed to be the first U.S. deaths associated with the coronavirus. The first death in America was originally believed to be in Washington state on Feb. 29. (Mercury News)

Looking forward, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday a second wave of coronavirus in the U.S. this winter could hit much harder because it would likely arrive at the start of flu season. (Reuters)

Fears of a second wave in China, where the virus originated late last year, were behind the city of Beijing's decision to close gyms again. Some fitness centers in Beijing reopened last month for the first time since late January as the outbreak started to slow. (CNBC)

Chinese agents spread messages that sowed coronavirus panic in US, officials say (NY Times)
US-China relations at a low as 'blame-shifting' sets back war against virus (CNBC)

Total reported Covid-19 cases in China are nearing 84,000 with over 4,600 deaths. Globally, cases are approaching 2.6 million with nearly 180,000 deaths. (CNBC)

President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden are locked in a tight race in six states that will shape who wins the White House in November, a new CNBC/Change Research poll released today found. The GOP incumbent and apparent Democratic nominee are virtually tied in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Washington state governor endorses Biden, citing private conversations on climate policy (NY Times)

STOCKS TO WATCH

AT&T (T) this morning reported quarterly earnings of 84 cents per share, a penny a share below estimates. Revenue also missed forecasts. The company said the coronavirus outbreak is clouding its financial outlook, and it has pulled its full-year forecast.

Netflix delivered a big jump in subscribers in the first quarter as people stuck at home sought entertainment. Keeping a lid on the stock, earnings per share of $1.57 came in short of expectations. Revenue of $5.77 billion basically matched estimates. The streaming video giant said it could not accurately predict future subscriber growth due to the coronavirus pandemic, calling its estimates "guesswork."

Snap (SNAP) lost 8 cents per share for its latest quarter, a penny a share wider than analysts were expecting. The social media company reported better-than-expected revenue and surging user numbers, however, as use of its chat app jumped with more people staying at home. Shares were soaring about 20% in the premarket.

Chipotle Mexican Grill reported much better-than-expected adjusted quarterly earnings of $3.08 per share. Revenue of $1.41 billion matched forecasts. An 80% jump in online orders helped blunt the negative impact of the drop in restaurant dining due to the outbreak. Chipotle shares were higher in Wednesday's premarket.

United Airlines announced a secondary stock offering of more than 39 million shares to raise more than $1 billion. The offering was priced at $26.50 per share, 4.9% below Tuesday's close.

Expedia (EXPE) is near a deal to sell a stake to private-equity firms Silver Lake Partners and Apollo Global Management (APO), according to sources. Such a deal would raise about $1 billion, with Expedia seeking to raise funds as the pandemic takes a heavy toll on Expedia's online travel bookings.

Medtronic (MDT) said revenue had plunged in recent weeks, as hospitals delay elective procedures that use Medtronic's medical devices.

Lyft (LYFT) withdrew its 2020 guidance, saying the pandemic is having a negative effect on ride volumes. It said it would reveal detailed actions to weather the virus outbreak in early May.

WATERCOOLER

New England will trade longtime tight end Rob Gronkowski to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, in a move that will reunite him with ex-Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. Gronkowski left the NFL after the 2018 season. But he's expected to come out of retirement. Brady signed with Tampa Bay as a free agent last month after 20 seasons in New England. (AP)