Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow set to soar after Tuesday's strong gain as more states reopen

BY THE NUMBERS

Dow futures were pointing to a strong gain at Wednesday's open as optimism about the reopening of the economy builds. Shares of coronavirus crisis-battered airlines and cruise lines led gains in the premarket. The Dow Jones Industrial Average surged nearly 530 points, or 2.2.%, on Tuesday. The Dow briefly traded above 25,000 for the first time since early March before closing just below the level. (CNBC)

EU unveils plan for a nearly $1 billion coronavirus economic recovery fund (CNBC)
Spain is deploying a basic income to citizens to ease the coronavirus impact (CNBC)
* U.S. Congress will 'probably' have to pass another stimulus bill, Mitch McConnell says (CNBC)

In another sign of a possible quick recovery in the housing market, mortgage demand last week was unexpectedly strong. Total applications for home loans rose 9%, the Mortgage Bankers Association reported Wednesday. It's the sixth straight week of gains and a 54% recovery since early April. (CNBC)

New home sales rose slightly in April, defying expectations of a huge 22% drop (CNBC)

This afternoon, the Federal Reserve releases its Beige Book, the region-by-region assessment of the U.S. economy, at 2 p.m. ET.

Tractor Supply (TSCO) said it expected record-breaking sales and earnings for the current quarter, and that comparable-store sales for the farm supply company would grow by 20% to 25%. Tractor Supply shares are up 47% since nationwide lockdowns began in mid-March, the best gain of any retail stock in the S&P 500.

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti said retail stores can restart their businesses again Wednesday if they meet county guidelines, NBC Los Angeles reported. California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced that most counties can begin reopening hair salons and barbershops with increased health modifications.

West Virginia and Arkansas reopened bars as more states continue to lift coronavirus-related restrictions. Michigan also allowed retailers to welcome customers in their stores under certain restrictions. In Ohio, fitness centers and pools with specific health protocols in place reopened.

Walt Disney World Resort executives will submit a reopening proposal Wednesday to the Orange County Economic Recovery Task Force in Florida. Comcast's Universal Studios Orlando theme park will reopen to the public at reduced capacity next week after getting approval from the Recovery Task Force.

Boeing (BA) is expected to announce U.S. job reductions this week after disclosing last month it planned to cut 10% of its worldwide workforce of 160,000 employees, people briefed on the plans and a union official told Reuters. Union officials told The Wall Street Journal that the company will start with about 2,500 voluntary layoffs.

Democrats want Mnuchin to explain why bailed-out airlines are cutting workers' hours (CNBC)

U.S. passenger railroad service Amtrak is seeking a further $1.5 billion bailout and disclosed plans to cut its workforce by up to 20% in the coming budget year. Amtrak, which has been devastated by the coronavirus pandemic, received $1 billion in emergency funding from Congress last month. (Reuters)

Papa John's (PZZA) said Wednesday that May estimated same-store sales shot up 33.5% in North America and 7% globally as the pizza chain worked to meet soaring demand during the coronavirus crisis. That's a record for "the second straight month," said CEO Rob Lynch. Shares ran higher in the premarket. (CNBC)

Domino's U.S. same-store sales rose 14% in first two months of the quarter (CNBC)

Twitter (TWTR) has applied fact-checking notices to tweets by President Donald Trump for the first time, applying them to two tweets about alleged fraud related to mail-in ballots. Twitter had instituted a policy earlier this month saying it would apply fact-checking labels to topics subject to misinformation. (CNBC)

YouTube automatically deleted comments that criticized China's Communist Party (CNBC)

Prominent pro-democracy activist Joshua Wong called Beijing's proposed national security legislation "more evil" than the scrapped extradition bill that triggered mass protests in Hong Kong last year. We all know that the national security legislation is not about the security of China, it's just about enhancing, embracing the Communist regime in China," he told CNBC today.

SpaceX is set for its most important milestone, a launch that may well define the future of the U.S. space program. Elon Musk's company plans to launch two NASA astronauts on Wednesday, the first crewed mission in SpaceX history and the first launch of NASA astronauts from the U.S. since 2011. (CNBC)

Elon Musk let Jay Leno drive a Cybertruck through The Boring Company's tunnel underneath LA (CNBC)

Tesla (TSLA) cut vehicle prices in North America by as much as 6%, following a decline in auto demand since pandemic-related lockdowns began. Tesla said it will also cut prices in China, per usual after price adjustments in the U.S., by around 4%. (Reuters)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Amazon (AMZN) is in advanced talks to buy Zoox, according to The Wall Street Journal. Zoox is a developer of technology for self-driving taxis that can be summoned by phone.

Walmart (WMT) struck a deal with second-hand apparel seller ThredUp, allowing customers to browse ThredUp offerings on its website and get free shipping if they spend $35 or more.

Sanofi (SNY) will raise more than $11 billion from its sale of shares in U.S. partner Regeneron (REGN), selling 21.6 million shares at $515 per share. The French drugmaker could wind up raising $11.7 billion if underwriters exercise an option to buy 1.2 million addition Regeneron shares.

WATERCOOLER

The National Hockey League moved one step closer to resuming its season that was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said Tuesday the league officially ended its regular season and will skip ahead to a playoff tournament to determine its 2019-20 Stanley Cup champion. Bettman also said the league will select two hub cities where games will resume. (CNBC)