Morning Brief

What to watch today: Stocks set to rally again, tracking to break three-month losing streak

BY THE NUMBERS

Dow futures were pointing to a strong gain at this morning's open as Dow stocks 3M (MMM), Caterpillar (CAT) and Pfizer (PFE) rose in the premarket after reporting earnings and U.S. oil prices came off their lows. The Dow on Monday advanced more than 350 points as more states lay out plans to begin to relax coronavirus restrictions. (CNBC)

3M sales increase on 'strong' demand for personal safety products
Caterpillar says first-quarter sales decline 21%, does not give 2020 outlook
Pfizer's quarterly sales fall as it races to develop coronavirus vaccine
* Merck beats on earnings and revenue but lowers forward guidance
Southwest posts first loss since 2011, sees revenue down as much as 95% in May
PepsiCo earnings rise as consumers stock up, but company yanks outlook
Alphabet to report earnings and Google set to take a hit as travel websites cut online ad spending

With just days left in April, the Dow was up over 10%, tracking to break a three-month losing streak with its best monthly performance since October 2002. The S&P 500 was up more than 11% in April, also pacing to snap a three-month losing streak and with its best monthly performance since January 1987. (CNBC)'

Wall Street's recovery continued as depressed U.S. oil prices recovered some of their earlier losses. Analysts are worried that the June contract for West Texas Intermediate crude, the American benchmark, could crash and possibly go negative like the May contract did earlier this month on demand and shortage scarcity. (CNBC)

'The Federal Reserve, after unleashing its most aggressive programs ever to support markets and the economy, started its two-day April meeting Tuesday. The Fed is likely to pause any additional initiatives during the coronavirus crisis until it has more information about how those moves are working and what lies ahead. (CNBC)

According to respondents to the CNBC Fed Survey, the economy could take one to two years to rebound to full strength with the central bank and Congress having to commit trillions of dollars more along the way. Despite the massive coronavirus relief, respondents still see the unemployment rate peaking in August at 19%.

On today's economic calendar, home prices data from S&P/Case-Shiller for February, as coronavirus concerns were building in the U.S., are out at 9 a.m. ET, following a January year-over-year increase in home prices of 3.1% The Conference Board issues its April consumer confidence index at 10 a.m. ET. Economists expect a plunge to 92 from March's reading of 120. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

President Donald Trump said China could have stopped the coronavirus "at the source" before it swept around the world. Current cases globally top 3 million, with 211,349 deaths. Trump also said Monday the White House is conducting "serious investigations" into China's handling of the outbreak, which originated in the Chinese city of Wuhan late last year. (Reuters)

The Trump administration has unveiled a new strategy to help states ramp up their capacity to test for coronavirus, claiming most of the work is done, according to new documents. The ability to repeatedly and widely test at-risk populations is the cornerstone of any responsible plan to reopen the nation's economy. (CNBC)

Texas joins the growing list of states starting to reopen their economies. Officials there said they will allow the current statewide stay-at-home order to expire on Thursday, with Texas businesses beginning to open in phases the following day. U.S. coronavirus cases approach 1 million, with 56,253 fatalities. (CNBC)

Tesla (TSLA) canceled plans to bring employees back to work at its Fremont, California plant, following a weekend request to some furloughed workers to return. (CNBC)

Boeing (BA) will resume production of its 787 Dreamliner aircraft at its South Carolina factory on May 4. It had suspended production on April 8 because of the Covid-19 pandemic, and plans to institute a series of safeguards at the factory before workers return. (Reuters)

JetBlue (JBLU) became the first U.S. airline to mandate face coverings for passengers, with the rule taking effect May 4. Airlines have already asked flight attendants to wear masks, and worker unions have been pushing for a similar rule for passengers. (CNBC)

Verizon (VZ), AT&T (T), Comcast (CMCSA) and T-Mobile (TMUS) are among wireless service providers who have agreed to extend customer concessions through June 30, and will not cancel service or charge late fees to customers impacted by the pandemic. Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. (Reuters)

Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo., is asking the Department of Justice to open a criminal investigation into Amazon (AMZN), citing reports that he says suggest the company has used "predatory and exclusionary data practices to build and maintain a monopoly." (CNBC)

* New York AG raises concerns about Amazon's pandemic safety practices, source says (Reuters)

The Supreme Court called for more arguments in two cases over whether Trump can keep his financial records shielded from congressional investigators. The request suggests at least some justices are considering a potential way out of having to issue a decision in the high-profile disputes. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Harley-Davidson (HOG) earned 45 cents per share for its latest quarter, 4 cents a share above estimates. Revenue was slightly above forecasts. However, profit was down 45% from a year ago as global lockdowns hit sales. Harley also suspended share repurchases, and cut its quarterly dividend to 2 cents a share from 38 cents a share.

DR Horton (DHI) beat consensus forecasts by 18 cents a share, with quarterly profit of $1.30 per share. Revenue at the homebuilder was also above estimates. The company said sales and profits are slowing, however, and cancellations are increasing due to the coronavirus pandemic.

BP's (BP) latest earnings beat estimates, but profit fell by two thirds and debt levels rose to the highest level in five years. The energy producer kept its dividend intact, however, even as it warned of extreme uncertainty in the energy markets and its future results.

HSBC (HSBC) reported lower-than-expected quarterly profit, as the bank earmarked $3 billion for possible bad loans amid the coronavirus outbreak. UBS (UBS) saw profits rise by 40% for its latest quarter, as the world's largest wealth manager saw increased portfolio activity by its high-end clients.

Novartis (NVS) reported first-quarter profits and sales that came in above analysts' estimates, with the drugmaker benefiting from customers stocking up on their prescriptions as the coronavirus outbreak took hold.

Keurig Dr Pepper (KDP) reported quarterly earnings of 29 cents per share, 2 cents a share above estimates. The beverage maker's revenue also beat forecasts and the company reaffirmed a full-year forecast that is above current consensus, with stay-at-home consumers stocking up on the company's offerings like Dr Pepper and 7UP.

WATERCOOLER

In three weeks of digital release, the "Trolls" sequel has made more money for Universal Pictures than original did during five months in theaters, according to The Wall Street Journal. The studio decided not to postpone the release of "Trolls World Tour" as theaters were closing down and instead released it online.