Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow futures tracking for steady open after Nasdaq snapped winning streak

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were pointing to a little-changed open Wednesday for the Dow Jones Industrial Average after blue chips logged a second day of losses and the Nasdaq broke its six-session winning streak. The S&P 500, which snapped a three-session winning streak, the Dow and Nasdaq each dropped about 2% on Tuesday on concerns about whether reopening the economy might cause a second wave of coronavirus infections and a spike in deaths. (CNBC)

Investors will be looking for further guidance on the economic toll of the virus and where the Federal Reserve's historic monetary stimulus measures stand when Fed Chairman Jerome Powell speaks at 9 a.m. ET Wednesday. "The wild card here is the Fed can always step up their purchases" of assets, hedge fund pioneer Stanley Druckenmiller said Tuesday night. However, he said, "The risk-reward for equity is maybe as bad as I've seen it in my career." (CNBC)

US producer price index fell 1.3% in April, vs 0.5% drop expected (CNBC)
Mortgage applications from buyers jump 11%, signaling spring housing market may not be a total loss (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

The House Democrats' $3 trillion, over-1,800-page coronavirus relief bill, set for a possible vote Friday, would face an uncertain future in the Senate. Republicans on Capitol Hill and the White House want to take a pause to see how the already unprecedented emergency fiscal and monetary measures work. (CNBC)

* House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says it's a 'big ticket' bill for a 'big problem' (CNBC)

California is moving further into its reopening process, allowing some offices, malls and outdoor museums to resume operations with modifications, even as the 23-campus California State University System plans to offer most courses for the fall online. (CNBC & NBC News)

Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the country's top virologists, told a Senate panel Tuesday that the U.S. will unlikely have medical responses to the pandemic ready in time for the new school year. U.S. cases approached 1.4 million Wednesday morning with over 82,300 deaths. Globally, total infections exceeded 4.2 million as fatalities neared 300,000. (CNBC)

The human cost to reopening businesses continued to play out across Asia, as South Korea reported 26 new cases and one new death attributed to a cluster of infections linked to night clubs. In China, over the past two weeks, new cases have been reported in seven provinces, including Hubei, where the outbreak originated late last year. (Reuters)

President Donald Trump and the Labor Department directed a board charged with overseeing billions in federal retirement dollars to halt plans to invest in Chinese companies. An international index, the Thrift Savings Plan, is set to start tracking later this year. China is included in its equities in a broad range of developed and emerging markets. (CNBC)

Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was released from federal prison to serve the remainder of his 7½-year sentence in home confinement amid fears about the spread of the coronavirus, NBC News reported.

Gilead Sciences (GILD) struck licensing deals with five generic drug makers for production of its antiviral drug remdesivir in 127 countries outside the United States. Mylan (MYL), the world's largest generic drugmaker, is among them. (CNBC)'

Uber (UBER) and Grubhub (GRUB) are at odds over price in a possible takeover deal, according to sources who spoke to CNBC. Uber is said to be in talks to acquire Grubhub and combine the food delivery service with its own Uber Eats business. Uber also filed to offer $750 million in senior notes that would be due in 2025.

STOCKS TO WATCH

Walt Disney (DIS) filed to sell $11 billion in notes of various terms, with due dates ranging from 2026 to 2060.

J.C. Penney (JCP) is in talks to line up a $450 million debtor-in-possession loan, according to people familiar with the situation who spoke to CNBC. The loan would be part of a bankruptcy filing by the retailer expected later this week.

Video streaming device maker Roku (ROKU) said in a Securities and Exchange Commission filing that it had struck in agreement with JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup to sell up to 4 million Class A shares "from time to time." The proceeds would be used for working capital and general corporate purposes.

CyberArk Software (CYBR), the cybersecurity company, reported quarterly profit of 50 cents per share, beating estimates of 36 cents a share. Revenue also beat forecasts. CyberArk said that due to the pandemic, it expected customers to make "more cautious" purchasing decisions, and it has withdrawn full-year guidance. CyberArk also announced the acquisition of ID security company Idaptive for $70 million in cash.

Twilio (TWLO),  the cloud communications company, will power a new telehealth video service from online medical search and booking company Zocdoc.

Sony (SNE) reported a 57% drop in fiscal fourth-quarter operating profit, coming in below analysts' estimates. The tech giant declined to give an outlook for the current year due to pandemic-related uncertainty. The profit decline was prompted by a drop in demand for Sony's products such as smartphone image sensors.

The Container Store (TCS) reported preliminary fiscal fourth-quarter results, projecting a 4.7% drop in quarterly sales and a 3.6% decline in comparable-store sales. The home organization and storage products retailer said performance had been tracking its own expectations prior to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Occidental Petroleum (OXY) is offering its employees voluntary buyouts, according to an internal document seen by Reuters. The document cites the Covid-19 pandemic and the steep decline in oil prices for the move.

Las Vegas Sands (LVS) scrapped plans for a Japan casino and resort project, without giving a reason for doing so. Competitors Wynn Resorts (WYNN) and Caesars Entertainment (CZR) had previously withdrawn from Japan-based casino projects.