Morning Brief

What to watch today: Stocks set to open lower during what's been otherwise a strong week so far

BY THE NUMBERS

Stock futures indicated a lower open this morning, following a Wednesday rally that sent the S&P 500 to its highest close since March 6. Both the S&P 500 and the Dow are up 3.7% since Monday, while the Nasdaq Composite is up 4% so far this week. The tech-heavy Nasdaq is now just 4.5% below its record high in February. (CNBC)

Weekly initial jobless claims released this morning came in at nearly 2.44 million for the week ending May 16, right around consensus forecasts from economists. A review of last week's claims revised them down from 2.98 million to 2.69 million. Around 38.6 million workers have so far filed claims during the Covid-19 crisis. (CNBC) 

Best Buy's (BBY) revenue and earnings fell in the first quarter, despite an initial surge in sales as people shifted to remote work. Revenues came in at $8.56 billion, down from $9.14 billion a year earlier. Its quarterly net income of $159 million was a decline from $265 million last year. The stock was down more than 3% in premarket trading. (CNBC) 

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Global confirmed cases of the coronavirus topped 5 million today as some countries start to relax strict social distancing guidelines and ease economic restrictions, according to Johns Hopkins University data. At least 328,565 people worldwide have died. (CNBC)

In the U.S., all 50 states are now in various stages of reopening their coronavirus-shuttered economies, according to The New York Times. The states are moving forward even as models suggest that reopening businesses will lead to a steady rise in the number of Covid-19 cases over the next couple of weeks.

Modelers find that tens of thousands of U.S. deaths could have been prevented (NY Times)

The Department of Health and Human Services announced a partnership with AstraZeneca to accelerate the British drugmaker's development of a Covid-19 vaccine. The U.S. government has pledged up to $1.2 billion and secured at least 300 million doses of the vaccine, if it's effective, as part of the Trump administration's Operation Warp Speed. The vaccine was developed by the University of Oxford and licensed to AstraZeneca. (Reuters)

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has asked President Donald Trump to wear a mask when he visits a Ford factory in Ypsilanti on Thursday. In an open letter, the Democratic Nessel said Trump has a "legal responsibility" under state law to wear a mask. Trump has previously not worn a mask in public. (CNBC)

The Senate has approved a bill that could prevent many Chinese companies from listing on U.S. stock exchanges or raising money from American investors, unless they are in compliance with Washington's regulatory and audit standards. (CNBC)

Macy's said today it expects first-quarter sales to fall by as much as 45% and could report a loss of more than $1 billion, another indication of how the coronavirus has impacted retailers. Macy's stores were temporarily shut in mid-March due to the crisis, but have now begun to reopen in some states across the U.S. (CNBC) 

Alabama, North Dakota and South Carolina became the first three U.S. states to say publicly that they will use contact tracing technology from Apple and Google in their government-developed apps. The companies said 22 countries and some US states have requested and received access to their technology. (CNBC) 

Tesla has dropped its lawsuit against California's Alameda County, which had been filed earlier this month as the electric vehicle maker objected local official's Covid-19 health orders. County authorities gave Tesla the green light by to ramp up production at its Fremont plant last week, although previous CNBC reporting suggested full shifts had been booked already. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

L Brands (LB) lost an adjusted 99 cents per share for its latest quarter, wider than the 72 cent loss expected by Wall Street. The apparel retailer saw revenue below estimates as well, with Victoria's Secret sales cut nearly in half and Bath & Body Works sales dropping 18%. All of the company's stores have been shut since March 17 due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Expedia (EXPE) reported an adjusted quarterly loss of $1.83 per share, compared to a consensus estimate of a loss of $1.23 per share. The travel services company did see revenue come in slightly above Street forecasts, and Expedia said it is seeing signs of a recovery in demand this month.

Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) beat sales expectations by a wide margin in its latest quarter, thanks to a surge in videogame activity amid nationwide stay-at-home orders. The company said its games – including the popular NBA 2K and Grand Theft Auto franchises – performed better than expected across the board.

Schlumberger (SLB) will reshuffle its top executives, according a memo written by Chief Executive Officer Olivier Le Peuch and seen by Reuters. The oilfield services company will also consolidate its 17 product lines into 4 divisions.

Canada Goose (GOOS) laid off 125 workers, about 2.5% of its global workforce. The luxury outerwear maker is taking steps to cope with the impact of COVID-19 on its business.

Mastercard (MA) said it would allow its employees to continue to work from home until their fears of contracting COVID-19 subside. The payments processor said it was re-examining its office footprint and is considering consolidation.

Boeing (BA) was rated "outperform" in new coverage at RBC Capital Markets. The firm notes the risks associated with the airline industry in general and uncertainty surrounding the return of Boeing's grounded 737 MAX jet, but said the stock has a favorable risk/reward profile and that the company's defense business is undervalued.

WATERCOOLER

The pair of American astronauts who will end NASA's nine-year launch drought arrived Wednesday in Florida, one week before they are scheduled to take flight on a SpaceX rocket. The astronauts, Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken, will be first to enter orbit from a private company. (AP)