Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow to open higher even after all job gains since Great Recession were erased


Dow futures were pointing to a higher open Thursday after the government said over 4.4 million Americans filed for first-time jobless claims last week. That was slightly higher than expected. It took only five weeks for the economy to wipe out all the job gains since the Great Recession. (CNBC)

U.S. oil prices, which collapsed Monday on concerns about demand and storage scarcity, were rebounding for the third straight session. Stabilizing oil prices Wednesday helped push the Dow Jones Industrial Average up over 450 points, or nearly 2%, putting a dent in the over 1,200 point declines on Monday and Tuesday. (CNBC)


The House is expected to vote today on the Senate-passed $484 billion relief package, which would provide funds for small businesses, hospitals and testing. (AP)

* New $310 billion in aid for small businesses is likely already used up, banks say (AP)
* McConnell says states should consider bankruptcy, rebuffing calls for federal aid (NY Times)

After prodding states run by Democratic governors last week to reopen their economies, President Donald Trump took issue with Republican Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp's plans this week to reopen tattoo parlors, bars, hair salons and other nonessential businesses. (CNBC)

* Hidden outbreaks spread through US cities far earlier than Americans knew, estimates show (NY Times)

While seeing the rate of new daily infections trending lower, U.S. coronavirus cases rose to over 842,600 with 46,785 fatalities. The worldwide death toll increased to 184,267 on more than 2.6 million cases.

Tyson Foods has suspended operations at an Iowa plant that's critical to the nation's pork supply. The Waterloo facility is being blamed for fueling a coronavirus outbreak in the region. Tyson also announced Wednesday the closure of a a pork plant in Logansport, Indiana. (AP)

Target CEO Brian Cornell said the retailer has seen a doubling in online sales so far this quarter, as shoppers try to limit time inside stores or avoid the trips altogether during the coronavirus pandemic. Target also announced it will extend its $2 per hour temporary pay increase for store employees until May 30. (CNBC)

Gap (GPS) has suspended rent payments due under its leases, and is negotiating with landlords to defer and abate rents as long as virus-related closures continue. Gap also warned existing cash may not be enough to fund operations. (CNBC)

Hundreds of Airbnb hosts have taken to online groups to complain that they have yet to receive any payments from a $250 million coronavirus relief fund that the company announced last month. Among the rare few who have received any money, some say Airbnb offering 25% of what they would normally get under cancellation policies is inadequate. (CNBC)


Eli Lilly (LLY) reported quarterly earnings of $1.75 per share, beating the $1.48 a share consensus estimate. Revenue was also above forecasts. Lilly's worldwide revenue was boosted by $250 million due to Covid-19, but the company said the virus could negatively impact results later in the year.

PulteGroup's (PHM) bottom line came in 4 cents a share above estimates at 74 cents per share, with revenue essentially in line with expectations. The homebuilder said consumer traffic and sales slowed in mid-March and it is suspending guidance due to uncertainties related to the pandemic.

Hershey (HSY) missed estimates by 8 cents a share, with quarterly earnings of $1.63 per share. Revenue came in slightly below forecasts. Hershey declared its regular quarterly dividend and said it believes it has sufficient liquidity to meet its cash needs.

Private equity giant Blackstone (BX) reported distributable earnings per share of 46 cents for the first quarter, 4 cents a share below estimates. It also reported an overall loss due to the write-down of its investment portfolio. It did see a 20% increase in fee-earning assets under management compared to a year ago.

O'Reilly Automotive (ORLY) beat estimates by 6 cents a share, with quarterly profit of $4 per share. Revenue came in slightly above forecasts. The auto parts retailer said it began to see a significant negative impact in mid-March as the coronavirus outbreak took hold.

British drugmaker AstraZeneca (AZN) began late-stage testing of its diabetes drug Farxiga as a possible treatment for Covid-19 patients. This particular trial is aimed at reducing the risk of complications in patients with existing heart and kidney problems.

Unilever (UN, UL) withdrew its full-year forecast due to uncertainties surrounding the coronavirus outbreak. The consumer products giant said it would pay its quarterly dividend as planned.

Delta Air Lines (DAL) plans to raise $3 billion through a debt offering and a new credit line. The airline is trying to mitigate the financial impact of the severe slowdown in travel demand due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Marathon Petroleum (MRO) warned it will take a roughly $7.8 billion charge for the first quarter due to the plunge in fuel demand, and expects to report a quarterly loss.

Las Vegas Sands (LVS) reported a first-quarter loss, as the virus outbreak kept gamblers away from its casinos. The company expects a relatively quick recovery in its Asian markets, however.

Boeing (BA) was sued for $336 million by a Kuwaiti leasing company, which accused the jet maker of refusing to return advance payments on a now-canceled order for 40 737 Max aircraft.

Lam Research (LRCX) matched estimates with quarterly earnings of $3.98 per share, but the semiconductor equipment maker's revenue missed forecasts. The company said customer demand for its equipment remains strong, even amid limited visibility on macroeconomic conditions.

La-Z-Boy (LZB) plans to partially resume production at several U.S. plants next week. The furniture maker and retailer is also slowly reopening stores, after temporarily closing them last month and furloughing 6,800 workers.

Discover Financial Services (DFS) reported a quarterly loss of 25 cents per share, compared to an expected profit. The financial services company's revenue matched Street forecasts. The loss stems largely from an increase in Discover's provision for credit losses to $1.81 billion from $809 million a year earlier.

Sleep Number (SNBR) posted quarterly profit of $1.36 per share, well above the consensus estimate 72 cents a share. The mattress retailer's revenue also topped forecasts. The company is not providing financial guidance due to uncertainties surrounding the virus outbreak, but said it expected to be able to meet its liquidity needs.

Netgear (NTGR) earned 21 cents per share for its latest quarter, 5 cents a share above estimates. Revenue also beat analysts' projections. The maker of networking products has withdrawn prior financial targets due to supply and demand uncertainties stemming from Covid-19.


Comcast-owned NBCUniversal this morning unveiled technology to enable consumers to buy products from branded articles, videos and specially designed television advertisements from retailers, without requiring them to go elsewhere. Comcast also owns CNBC.

CORRECTION: This newsletter was updated to show that AstraZeneca is a British drugmaker.