Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow to rise as Moderna reports positive vaccine data, Goldman earnings beat

BY THE NUMBERS

Dow futures pointed to an opening pop of about 500 points as Wall Street responds to positive news involving Moderna's potential coronavirus vaccine. S&P 500 futures and Nasdaq 100 futures also were higher. The Dow enters the session on a three-day win streak, including a 557-point gain Tuesday. The S&P and tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite returned to the green, advancing 1.3% and 0.94%, respectively. (CNBC) 

Treasury yields move higher ahead of Fed's Beige Book report (CNBC) 

Goldman Sachs (GS) reported quarterly revenues and per-share earnings that far exceeded Street expectations, sending its shares higher by more than 4% in the premarket. The investment bank posted second-quarter revenues of $13.3 billion, ahead of the expected $9.75 billion, and earnings per share of $6.26, when analysts anticipated $3.78 per share. (CNBC) 

Shares of UnitedHealth (UNH) were higher by more than 1% in early trading following the health insurer's second-quarter earnings report. UnitedHealth's quarterly profits more than doubled compared to a year earlier as the coronavirus pandemic resulted in some medical care to be deferred. (Reuters) 

On today's economic calendar, import prices and the New York Federal Reserve Bank's Empire State manufacturing index are set to be released at 8:30 a.m. ET. The Fed's Beige Book report will come out at 2 p.m ET. 

Don't forget: Today is the new deadline to file 2019 tax returns or pay taxes owed to the IRS. 

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Moderna (MRNA) said its potential vaccine to prevent Covid-19 provided a "robust" immune response in early stage human trials, with all 45 patients producing neutralizing antibodies. Moderna also said it plans to begin its late-stage trial of the vaccine, which involves 30,000 patients across 87 locations, on July 27. Shares of the biotech firm were up around 17% in premarket trading. (CNBC) 

The director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urged American residents to wear face coverings, suggesting that doing so could bring the nation's Covid-19 outbreak under control in one to two months. Face masks have become a polarizing issues in the U.S. as some state and local officials have implemented policies mandating they be worn in public. But CDC Director Robert Redfield's comments Tuesday were perhaps his strongest yet: "I think we're being very clear now. Now's the time to wear a mask." (CNBC) 

Trump Administration Strips C.D.C. of Control of Coronavirus Data (NY Times) 

President Donald Trump said he took steps in response to China's new security law for Hong Kong, signing sanctions legislation into law while also ending preferential status for the former British colony. The law places mandatory sanctions on Chinese officials and companies that supported Beijing's security law, which cracks down on dissent in Hong Kong. (CNBC) 

* China vows retaliation after Trump ends preferential status for Hong Kong (Reuters) 
Young activists, localists top Hong Kong pro-democracy polls (AP) 

The Trump administration walked back a rule change that would have required international students to leave the country or transfer elsewhere if their current school held classes exclusively online as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Lawsuits challenging the policy poured in from colleges and universities, as well as from U.S. states.  The decision, announced at a federal court hearing Tuesday, grants relief to thousands of international students who faced uncertainty about their upcoming academic term. (AP) 

Apple (AAPL) does not have to pay nearly $15 billion in Irish taxes after challenging a 2016 determination from the European Commission, an EU court ruled Wednesday. In a closely watched decision, the EU's general court said the Commission did not prove that the Irish government provided special treatment to Apple that allowed the Cupertino, California-based tech giant to pay lower taxes. Ireland, Apple and the European Commission have two months to file an appeal that could take the case to the EU's highest court.  (CNBC) 

Google confirms it's investing $4.5 billion in India's Jio Platforms four months after Facebook's bet on the company (CNBC) 

Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden continues to hold a lead over Trump in six swing states crucial to November's presidential election, a new CNBC/Change Research poll found. Biden and Trump are virtually tied in North Carolina, but the former vice president maintains leads outside the poll's margin of error over Trump in Arizona, Florida, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Trump was leading Biden in most of these swing states earlier this spring, according to a CNBC/Change Research poll at the time. (CNBC) 

Tuberville defeats former AG Sessions, wins Alabama Senate GOP primary (AP) 

Tokyo elevated its coronavirus alert to the highest level Wednesday following an increase in daily cases of Covid-19.  Yuriko Koike, the governor of Tokyo, said the situation in Japan's capital city had become "rather severe." Tokyo is seeing an increase in cases among young people that can be traced back to bars and other nightlife. Tokyo has about 8,200 confirmed cases of Covid-19, according to Johns Hopkins University. (Reuters) 

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was hospitalized for a possible infection and is expected to stay for a "few days," according to a spokeswoman for the court. Ginsburg is receiving treatment in Baltimore at The Johns Hopkins Hospital after having chills and a fever. The 87-year-old Ginsburg, who is the oldest justice on the Supreme Court, has experienced a number of health issues in recent years, including undergoing treatment last year for what was likely pancreatic cancer. (CNBC) 

STOCKS TO WATCH

Best Buy (BBY), the nation's largest electronics retailer, will require all customers to wear masks in its stores, becoming the latest retailer to do so. Other large chains, including Starbucks (SBUX) and Costco (COST), have instituted similar rules.

Facebook (FB) and Sony (SNE) are planning to increase output of upcoming gaming devices by as much as 50%, according to a report in the Nikkei Asian Review. Sony raised production orders for its PlayStation 5 to about 9 million units from 6 million, while Facebook is increasing orders for its Oculus virtual reality headsets by about 50% to a total of about 2 million.

New Jersey regulators meet today to decide on the fate of Eldorado Resorts' (ERI) planned merger with Caesar's Entertainment (CZR). New Jersey is the last state approval that the two casino operators will need to complete the deal, with Indiana and Nevada having already given their approval.

Satellite radio and streaming service operator Sirius XM (SIRI) added $2 billion to its stock buyback program.

Massachusetts filed suit against Uber Technologies (UBER) and Lyft (UBER), saying the ride-hailing companies incorrectly classified drivers as independent contractors rather than employees, depriving them of benefits. Uber and Lyft face a similar legal action in California.

PVH Corp. (PVH) is shutting down 162 retail stores and cutting 450 jobs in North America, due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on apparel sales. The company behind brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, and IZOD said the move affects 12% of its workforce and will save about $80 million annually.

WATERCOOLER

Roughly 75% of students plan to return to campus this fall if their universities reopen despite the threat of the coronavirus, a poll from College Reaction/Axios found. Almost 80% of respondents said they would skip parties — widely seen as a high-risk place for infection — and 71% indicated they would forgo sports games if they are played. (Axios)