Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow futures are up and down as protests over racial inequality grip the nation


Dow futures were up and down Monday even as violent protests in major cities over racial inequality and police brutality added to the uncertainty caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed a wild week down 17 points on Friday. The Dow gained 3.75% for the week, and it was 14% below its February record. The Dow also logged strong gains for May ahead of the first trading day in June. (CNBC)

Two key manufacturing benchmarks are out today, with the Markit manufacturing PMI ahead at 9:45 a.m. ET and the Institute for Supply Management's May Manufacturing Index out at 10 a.m. ET. The government's April construction spending report is also released at 10 a.m. ET. Jet maker Embraer (ERJ) is among the few companies issuing quarterly earnings this morning, while no major companies issues profit reports after the bell. (CNBC)

Morgan Stanley (MS) raised its price target for Amazon (AMZN) to $2,800 from $2,600, saying it expects faster forward growth for Amazon even if overall consumer spending weakens. The firm has raised earnings estimates for Amazon while maintaining an overweight rating.


America enters the new week with neighborhoods in shambles, city streets on lockdown and confidence shaken by protests following last week's killing of George Floyd during an arrest in Minneapolis. Raw emotion over police killings of black people hit a breaking point. All of it erupted into a nation already hurt by a death toll that surged past 100,000 from the coronavirus and unemployment that soared to levels not seen since the Great Depression. (AP)

Robert Johnson, founder of Black Entertainment Television, told CNBC on Monday the U.S. government should provide $14 trillion of reparations for slavery to blacks to help reduce racial inequality in the nation. "Now is the time to go big" to keep America from dividing into two separate and unequal societies, Johnson said on "Squawk Box." "Wealth transfer is what's needed.

Merck (MRK) Chairman and CEO Ken Frazier told CNBC on Monday that Floyd could have been him. "What the African American community sees in that video tape is that this African American man, who could be me or any other African American man, is being treated as less than human," Frazier told "Squawk Box."

Major retailers across the nation are temporarily closing their stores in areas hardest hit by the unrest. Target, Apple and Amazon-owned Whole Foods are among the retailers that announced they would shutter locations temporarily or adjust store hours around citywide curfews. Some Apple, Target and Whole Foods stores were damaged by looting. (CNBC)

This weekend's mass demonstrations raised health officials' concerns about the risk of spikes in coronavirus infections. It's unclear if the protests themselves would trigger new outbreaks since they were outside, where infections don't spread as readily as indoors. However, health officials fear that carriers of the virus who have no symptoms could unwittingly infect others at large gatherings. (AP)

* Dr. Scott Gottlieb to CNBC: 'Probably chains of transmission' were lit by protests (CNBC)

Russia claims to have an effective treatment for the coronavirus, which hospitals there will start using this month. Russian health officials have approved anti-influenza drug avifavir to treat Covid-19 after preliminary trials appeared to show that it could shorten recovery times. (CNBC)

Eli Lilly (LLY) began testing a Covid-19 experimental treatment derived from the blood of a survivor of the disease. It is the first study involving this type of drug, and comes about a month earlier than expected and ahead of rival Regeneron (REGN), which expects to begin a similar study this month. (Reuters)

Apple (AAPL) CEO Tim Cook sent a memo to employees Sunday, condemning the Floyd killing and calling for the creation of a "better, more just world for everyone." Cook also acknowledged that racial injustice exists in the U.S., including in "our criminal justice system" and "in the disproportionate toll of disease on Black and Brown communities." (CNBC)

Facebook (FB) employees have spoken out in anger after CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he planned to take no enforcement action against a post by Trump following the killing of Floyd. The staffers said the post has no place on Facebook, adding that they're "disappointed" and "gravely concerned" it has not been removed. (CNBC)

Trump held call with Zuckerberg as Facebook and Twitter adopted different stances (CNBC)

Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google unit has postponed the unveiling of its new Android 11 mobile operating system, which had been scheduled for Wednesday, but with the coronavirus outbreak and protests across the nation, Google said "now is not the time to celebrate." (Reuters)

Zoom Video Communications (ZM), popularized in the social distancing era of Covid-19, will begin rolling out stronger encryption to prevent so-called "zoombombing" by uninvited guests to conferences. However, according to Reuters, the move will only apply to paying Zoom accounts and not to the company's popular free accounts.


Caesar's Entertainment (CZR) plans to reopen its Harrah's Las Vegas casino this coming Friday, with initial customer demand on the Las Vegas strip following casino reopenings much stronger than expected.

Las Vegas Sands (LVS) and Wynn Resorts (WYNN) could see movements in their stocks today following gambling revenue in Macau falling 93.2% in May compared to a year earlier due to coronavirus-related restrictions.

Delta Air Lines (DAL) said it's working with its pilots union to avoid furloughs of about 2,300 pilots, as it tries to match pilot staffing with reduced demand for the summer. United Airlines (UAL) will cut 13 of its officer positions as part of a restructuring. It also said it will add some international flights back to its network in July.

KKR (KKR) is partnering with fellow private equity firms Cinven and Providence in a friendly $3.3 billion takeover bid for Spanish telecom company MasMovil.

Energy Transfer (ET) will begin cutting about 6% of its workforce this week, according to a recorded message to employees of the pipeline operator heard by Reuters. The move comes amid sinking oil and gas prices and a drop in business for companies like Energy Transfer.

Coty (COTY) is set to appoint its fourth new CEO in less than four years, according to the Wall Street Journal. Peter Harf, currently chairman of the cosmetics company, will reportedly assume the CEO role as soon as today.


Nike (NKE) has released a "Don't Do It" ad, imploring viewers not to "pretend there's not a problem in America." In a company statement about the ad, "Nike has a long history of standing against bigotry, hatred and inequality in all forms."