Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow futures turn positive after best quarter in over three decades

BY THE NUMBERS

Dow futures cut their losses and turn higher Wednesday on positive results from a coronavirus vaccine trial as the third quarter on Wall Street begins with hopes of a repeat of the past three months. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shot up more than 200 points, or nearly 1%, on Tuesday to close out the second quarter with an almost 17.8% advance for its best quarterly gain since early 1987. (CNBC)

An experimental Covid-19 vaccine being developed by the drug giant Pfizer (PFE) and biotech BioNTech (BNTX) spurred immune responses in healthy patients, but also caused fever and other side effects, especially at higher doses. (STAT)

ADP's June private-sector jobs report shows a slightly lower-than-expected gain of 2.37 million positions at U.S. companies after an upwardly revised loss of nearly 3.07 million in May. The government delivers its monthly employment report a day early on Thursday, as well as its regular look at weekly jobless claims. The stock market is closed Friday in observance of the July Fourth holiday.

Also on today's economic calendar, the Institute for Supply Management's June manufacturing index is out at 10 a.m. ET. American automakers begin releasing their second-quarter sales figures throughout the morning. The minutes from the Fed's April policy meeting are out at 2 p.m. ET. (CNBC)

The surge in mortgage demand from homebuyers over the past two months appears to be waning, even as mortgage rates continue to drop. Mortgage applications to purchase a home fell for the second straight week, down 1% from the previous week, according to the Mortgage Bankers Association. (CNBC)

Shares of FedEx (FDX) were soaring 15% in Wednesday's premarket after a surge in pandemic-fueled home deliveries helped the package giant post better-than-expected quarterly earnings and revenue. However, the coronavirus crisis did hurt business, with adjusted fiscal fourth-quarter profit cut in half to $2.53 per share and revenue slipping just over 2% to $17.4 billion.

United Airlines (UAL) is planning to add about 25,000 flights in August, hoping to capitalize on an uptick in air travel, particularly to leisure destinations ranging from Bozeman, Montana, to Bangor, Maine. The Chicago-based carrier and its competitors are seeing an uptick in travel demand from the five-decade lows hit in April as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold in the U.S. (CNBC)

Macy's (M) on Wednesday said it swung to a first-quarter loss, in line with the retailer's previously announced estimates, as its business took a hit from the coronavirus pandemic and its sales were nearly cut in half. Macy's is not offering a 2020 outlook at this time. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Democrats drove passage in the GOP-controlled Senate of a temporary extension to the small business Paycheck Protection Program through Aug. 8. The unexpected development late Tuesday came just hours before the federal loan program was set to expire with about $130 billion still left to be allocated. The bill, which now goes to the Democratically controlled House, would need President Donald Trump's signature. (AP & NY Times)

White House health advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci, in Senate testimony Tuesday, painted a bleak outlook for America's ability to halt the recent spikes in Covid-19 cases. "We are now having 40-plus-thousand new cases a day. I would not be surprised if we go up to 100,000 a day if this does not turn around, and so I am very concerned," he said. (CNBC)

Fauci says new virus in China has traits of 2009 swine flu and 1918 pandemic flu (CNBC)

Fauci said about 50% of all new cases are coming from just four states: Florida, California, Texas and Arizona. New York is adding eight additional states to its travel advisory, now requiring travelers arriving there from 16 states to quarantine for 14 days. The order was first issued alongside New Jersey and Connecticut last week. (CNBC)

* FDA says a coronavirus vaccine would have to be at least 50% effective to be approved (USA Today)
* South Dakota health officials: Trump's Mount Rushmore fireworks could cause virus spike (Argus Leader)
* How exactly do you catch Covid-19? There is a growing consensus (WSJ)

The Health and Human Services Department extended its Covid-19 testing partnership with CVS Health (CVS), Walgreens (WBA), Rite Aid (RAD), Kroger (KR) and Walmart (WMT), scaling it up to more than 600 sites across the country. About 70% of the testing sites under the program are located in areas of moderate-to-high vulnerability to the virus. (Reuters)

Many Republicans, breaking with the mask-adverse president, have started to recommend that Americans wear face coverings to help halt the spread of the coronavirus. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., called on Trump to start wearing a mask e. Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, said it would be "very helpful" for Trump to encourage mask usage. (AP)

Former Vice President Joe Biden laid out his most comprehensive, detailed case to date against Trump, saying on Tuesday that the president "has waved the white flag and left the field of battle" against the resurgent coronavirus pandemic. (CNBC)

Voters in six 2020 swing states largely disapprove of how Trump is handling the coronavirus crisis, a CNBC/Change Research poll finds. the president was blamed by 35% of the respondents for the recent increase in Covid-19 hospitalizations, followed closely by people not wearing masks and states reopening economies too soon.

Biden widening his lead over the president in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The CNBC/Change Research survey also shows challenges for Republicans running in Senate races in Arizona, Michigan and North Carolina.

Facebook (FB) removed a network of accounts, groups and pages associated with the far-right extremist movement known as "boogaloo." Facebook chose to remove the boogaloo network for violating its policy of "Dangerous Individuals and Organizations." (CNBC)

Hong Kong police announced Wednesday their first arrests since China's national security law came into force.
The act took effect hours after the Chinese parliament's top decision-making body voted Tuesday to pass the contentious legislation. (CNBC)

A week-long vote on constitutional changes in Russia comes to a close Wednesday, with citizens voting on changes which include an amendment that would allow President Vladimir Putin to run for further terms in office, and potentially lead the country until 2036. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Luxury goods maker Capri Holdings (CPRI) reported fiscal fourth-quarter profit of 11 cents per share, missing the 15 cents a share consensus estimate. Revenue at the company formerly known as Michael Kors beat forecasts. Capri expects fiscal 2021 to be impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, including a "significant" current-quarter loss, but CEO John Idol said he is encouraged by current trends as stores reopen.

Spirits producer Constellation Brands (STZ) reported quarterly profit of $2.30 per share, beating the consensus estimate of $2.01 a share. Organic sales were down 4%. The company said beer production in Mexico had returned to normal levels. Separately, Constellation announced the acquisition of direct-to-consumer wine producer Empathy Wines for an undisclosed amount.

General Mills (GIS) earned $1.10 per share for its fiscal fourth quarter, 4 cents a share above estimates. Revenue also beat Wall Street forecasts, helped in general by pandemic-related food stockpiling, and from strong demand for its cereals and snack foods.

Boeing (BA) did not give regulators documents about key changes it made in the 737 Max flight control system prior to its original approval, according to an inspector general report seen by Reuters and AP. Boeing began test flights this week to recertify the aircraft for a return to service.

Beyond Meat (BYND) is launching retail sales of its plant-based burgers in China, beginning with 50 stores in Shanghai this weekend. The products had been introduced on a limited basis earlier this month at Yum China's (YUMC) Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and KFC locations in China.

Netflix (NFLX) named Bozoma Saint John as its new chief marketing officer, adding a high-profile Black executive to its senior management ranks. Saint John had been head of marketing at talent agency Endeavor (EDR), and previously worked at Apple (AAPL) and Uber (UBER).