Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow set to add to two-session rally of nearly 1,100 points

BY THE NUMBERS

Dow futures were pointing to another strong gain at Thursday's open ahead of weekly data that's expected to push coronavirus-driven jobless claims to over 40 million. The Dow Jones Industrial Average on Wednesday jumped 553 points, or 2.2%, closing above 25,000 for the first time since March. (CNBC)

Coupled with Tuesday's nearly 530 point advance, the Dow has soared nearly 1,100 points, or 4.4%, in the past two sessions as Wall Street grows more optimistic about the economy even as the Covid-19 death toll in the U.S. exceeded 100,000 on Wednesday. (CNBC)

* Black Americans bear disproportionate share of coronavirus fatalities (CNBC)

In addition to the Labor Department's weekly look at jobless claims Thursday, the Commerce Department issues April durable goods and its second reading on first-quarter economic growth, all at 8:30 a.m. ET. Durable goods last month are seen falling 17% after March's 14.4% drop. GDP in the first three months of the year, before the full brunt of state lockdowns, is expected to show the same 4.8% contraction that it did a month ago. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

President Donald Trump is expected to sign on Thursday an executive order targeting social media companies one day after threatening to shut down Twitter and other platforms that he accuses of stifling conservative voices. Trump's latest dispute with social media emerged after Twitter on Tuesday for the first time attached a warning to some of his tweets prompting readers to fact check the president's claims. (Reuters)

In a CNBC interview that aired Thursday morning, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg was asked about it. He said he does not think social networks should be fact-checking what politicians post. Zuckerberg also addressed working from home, saying senior executives cannot feasibly work from home at all times. He said those type of roles have unique aspects that require in-person meetings.

China's parliament Thursday approved a proposal to impose a new national security law for Hong Kong, and paving the way for the legislation to be finalized and implemented. Protests in the autonomous Chinese territory reignited after the legislation was first proposed Friday. The U.S. has criticized China's move, saying it undermines Hong Kong's freedoms that Beijing promised to keep in place for 50 years when the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997. (CNBC)

What it means for investors if Hong Kong loses its special status with the U.S. (CNBC)

In a separate issue that could further erode Washington and Beijing relations, already strained over the origins of the coronavirus outbreak, the House sent Trump a bill calling for sanctions against Chinese officials for the detention and torture of Uighur Muslims in the country's western region of Xinjiang. The president has not said whether he intends to sign it into law. (CNBC)

American Airlines (AAL) plans to cut 30% of its management and support staff, a reduction of about 5,000 jobs, because of the toll coronavirus is taking on the business, according to a company memo that was viewed by CNBC. Delta Air Lines (DAL) will announce details of two voluntary job reduction programs today, according to a letter sent to employees by CEO Ed Bastian. (CNBC)

Boeing (BA) has resumed manufacturing its beleaguered 737 Max planes. Production was halted in January as a worldwide grounding of the planes dragged on longer than expected. Airlines have been prohibited from flying the 737 Max since March 2019 after the second of two fatal crashes involving the jet that killed a total of 346 people. Boeing has been logging a surge in cancellations from customers this year as the coronavirus pandemic adds to its struggles. (CNBC)

Boeing is laying off more than 6,000 employees this week as coronavirus pandemic hurts demand (CNBC)

Amazon (AMZN) plans to offer permanent jobs to about 70% of the U.S. employees hired temporarily to meet soaring consumer demand during the coronavirus pandemic. The world's largest online retailer will begin telling some 125,000 warehouse employees in June that they can keep their roles longer-term. (Reuters)

Pershing Square founder Bill Ackman said he hedge fund sold its stake in Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.a). Ackman also noted the funds' massive returns between 22% and 27% thus far in 2020 while the broader market struggles during the coronavirus crisis. (CNBC Pro)

Investor Carl Icahn exited his entire position in Hertz (HTZ), according to an SEC filing. That comes a few days after the car rental company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, a decision Icahn said he supports despite taking a "significant loss" on his position. Icahn had been Hertz's largest shareholder. (Reuters)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) lost $3.29 per share for its latest quarter, wider than the loss of $1.39 per share anticipated by analysts. Revenue was also below forecasts, with sales impacted by pandemic-related closures.

Dollar General (DG) reported quarterly profit of $2.56 per share, compared to a consensus estimate of $1.74 a share. Revenue exceeded forecasts as well, and a same-store sales jump of 21.7% was well above the 8.7% FactSet estimate. Dollar General said the pandemic had a significant positive impact on sales, and that it expects to exceed prior forecasts.

Dollar Tree (DLTR) earned $1.04 per share for its latest quarter, beating the 85 cents a share consensus estimate. Revenue also beat forecasts, with the discount retailer's overall same-store sales rising 7% compared to a 4.4% consensus estimate. Dollar Tree-branded stores did see a 0.9% drop in comparable sales, compared to estimates of a 1.2% increase, but Family Dollar saw a 15.5% rise compared to the consensus estimate of 8.1%. Like rival Dollar General, Dollar Tree benefited from the change in consumer behavior spurred by the pandemic.

Burlington Stores (BURL) lost $4.76 per share for its latest quarter, wider than the loss of $1.55 a share anticipated by analysts. Revenue was well below estimates, and Burlington said it was not prepared to give 2020 guidance. Stores were closed on March 22 due to the pandemic and remained closed through the end of the quarter. Some 332 stores have reopened since then, and the remainder are expected to open by the middle of June.

Box (BOX) reported quarterly earnings of 10 cents per share, doubling forecasts, while the cloud computing company's revenue also beat estimates. Box also gave an upbeat revenue forecast as it benefits from an increasing number of employees working from home.

Toll Brothers (TOL)  earned 59 cents per share for its latest quarter, 14 cents a share above estimates. The luxury home builder's revenue also above forecasts. The company scrapped its 2020 forecast due to uncertainty related to the coronavirus outbreak.

HP Inc. (HPQ)  beat estimates by 7 cents a share, with quarterly profit of 51 cents per share. The computer and printer maker's revenue fell short of Wall Street projections. Laptop computer sales grew, but printing and desktop sales plunged.

Workday (WDAY) fell 4 cents a share short of estimates, with quarterly earnings of 44 cents per share. The maker of financial management and human resources software's revenue came in slightly above forecasts. The bottom line was impacted by product development expenses and sales and marketing costs, among other factors.

WATERCOOLER

Apple (AAPL) landed director Martin Scorsese's next film, "Killers of the Flower Moon", for its Apple TV service, according to The Wall Street Journal. It beat out competitors such as Netflix (NFLX), which had produced Scorsese's last film, "The Irishman."