Morning Brief

What to watch today: Stock futures rise after tech rally drove Nasdaq higher for sixth session

BY THE NUMBERS

Dow futures were pointing to an advance at Tuesday's open after the Dow Jones Industrial Average broke a two-session winning streak. However, the Nasdaq continued to be the big winner on Wall Street, logging its sixth straight gain Monday. The tech-heavy index was up 2.4% for the year and just 6% below its February record high. (CNBC)

* Cramer reviews top 10 stocks 'for this difficult moment' on the 'Cramer Covid-19 Index' (CNBC)'

The Federal Reserve on Tuesday, in one of several unprecedented programs to help keep the markets functioning during the pandemic, will start purchasing shares of exchange-traded funds that invest in bonds. The Fed said that most of its ETF holdings will be in funds that primarily invest in highly rated U.S. corporate bonds (CNBC)

US consumer price index fell 0.8% in April, as expected (Reuters)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation's leading infectious disease specialist and a key member of President Donald Trump's White House coronavirus task force, reportedly plans to publicly warn on Tuesday that states reopening their economies too soon will cause "needless suffering and death." On Monday night, The New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg said Fauci had sent her an email ahead of his public testimony Tuesday at a remote Senate hearing.

As states across America start to ease lockdowns, South Korea and China are experiencing an uptick in cases after restrictions were eased. In the Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak, officials plan to test its 11 million residents over a 10-day period. Globally, cases approached 4.2 million with 286,615 deaths. The U.S. has had the most infections, more than 1.3 million, including 80,684 deaths. (Reuters)

Coronavirus infection rates are spiking to new highs in several metropolitan areas and smaller communities across the U.S., according to unreleased data the White House's pandemic task force uses to track new cases. The data, obtained by NBC News, was at odds with the president's declaration Monday that "all throughout the country, the numbers are coming down rapidly."

A memo to staff Monday directed "everyone who enters the West Wing to wear a mask or facial covering." The directive, after two staffers tested positive last week, apparently doesn't apply to the president, according to The Associated Press. Meanwhile, Trump stormed out of Monday's coronavirus press conference after becoming angry with two reporters: CBS' Weijia Jiang who asked a question about testing and CNN's Kaitlan Collins, who didn't get to ask a question.

Boeing (BA) CEO Dave Calhoun told NBC News he believes a major U.S. airline could go out of business this year. "Yes, most likely. You know, something will happen when September comes around," he said. In response to Calhoun's comment, a Boeing spokesman said the CEO was speaking to the "general uncertainty in the sector, not about any one particular airline."

Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk has confirmed that the company restarted production Monday at its Fremont factory, located in Alameda County, California, south of San Francisco. The move defied a local government order against reopening what it considers nonessential businesses. In a tweet Monday, Musk practically dared authorities to arrest him. (AP)

Toyota expects profit to drop 80% this year as virus saps car sales (Reuters)
Car rental firm Hertz raises going concern doubts as debt default looms (Reuters)

Hyatt Hotels (H) said late Monday it will lay off 1,300 people globally as it tries to cope with the coronavirus crisis, which has virtually halted global travel by keeping people indoors. The hotel giant also cut pay for senior management, board members and all employees as part of a restructuring. (Reuters)

Simon Property (SPG), the largest U.S. mall operator, will open about half its properties within the next week, after closing them all in March due to the coronavirus outbreak. That news came as Simon released its latest quarterly numbers, showing a 20% drop in net income for the first quarter. (CNBC)

Democrats are making new moves toward a virtual presidential nominating convention this August, with party officials preparing to grant convention organizers in Milwaukee the authority to design an event that won't require delegates to attend in person amid the coronavirus pandemic. (AP)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Casper Sleep (CSPR), the seller of mattresses and other sleep products, lost $1.23 per share for its latest quarter, compared to a consensus estimate of an 84 cents per share loss. Revenue, however, beat Street forecasts, and its online platforms saw an increase in business as retail locations closed. Casper said the Covid-19 pandemic is having an impact on its revenue, and that it's furloughing some employees to save costs and cutting back on planned new store openings.

Industrial equipment maker Ingersoll-Rand (IR) earned 25 cents per share for the first quarter, 3 cents a share shy of estimates. Revenue beat forecasts. The acquisition of Ingersoll-Rand by Gardner Denver was completed on Feb. 29, with Gardner Denver assuming the Ingersoll-Rand name.

Novavax (NVAX) lost 58 cents per share, less than the 70 cents a share loss analysts were expecting. The biotech company's revenue topped estimates. Novavax also announced that the nonprofit Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness will provide $384 million new funding for clinical trials of the company's experimental coronavirus vaccine.

Eventbrite (EB) lost $1.71 per share for its first quarter, much wider than the 24 cents a share loss expected by Wall Street. The event management company's revenue was also well short of forecasts. Eventbrite said ticket sales trends have shown improvement from the mid-March low point, however.

Eldorado (ERI) and Caesars Entertainment (CZR) both saw double-digit declines in revenue for the first quarter, as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold. Caesars' revenue was down 14%, while Eldorado saw a nearly 26% decline. Eldorado announced a deal last year to buy Caesars for about $8.6 billion in cash and stock.

PNC Financial (PNC) will sell its 22% stake in asset management giant BlackRock (BLK). PNC CEO William Demchak said the time was right to "unlock the value of our investment."

Logitech (LOGI) reported a more than 23% rise in operating income for its latest quarter and a nearly 14% jump in sales, as the computer peripherals maker benefits from the increase in home-based work.

Tencent Music (TME) posted better-than-expected profit for its latest quarter, although the China-based social entertainment company's revenue came in short of analysts' forecasts. Monthly average revenue per subscriber was down 13% during the quarter, although the number of paying users jumped 18.5%.

Richard Branson's Virgin Holdings will sell as much as 12% of its Virgin Galactic (SPCE) space exploration unit, in an effort to boost the financial health of Virgin Group's travel and tourism businesses.

WATERCOOLER

Restaurant Brands International, which owns Burger King, Tim Hortons and Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen, is reopening dining rooms across the country with plans to maintain socially distancing. Signs will indicate if a table is open or closed, and customers won't be able to use self-serve soda machines. Most of the company's restaurants have also erected plexiglass shields, according to an open letter from CEO Jose Cil.