Morning Brief

What to watch today: Stocks to fall as U.S.-China tensions escalate and tech stocks sell off


Dow futures indicated a drop at the open, as U.S.-China tensions continued to escalate. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures also were lower. The projected declines would add to Thursday's losses, which saw the Dow drop 353 points, or 1.3%. The broad S&P lost 1.2%, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq sank 2.3%. (CNBC) 

Intel (INTC) shares were tanking more than 13% in the premarket after disappointing third-quarter guidance, weighing on Dow futures. The S&P is likely to join the Dow and Nasdaq in negative territory for the week, based on today's implied early losses. The Nasdaq is also likely to post its first back-to-back losses since May 12-13, which would end its record 49-session streak of not losing ground on consecutive days.

China markets extend losses, Shenzhen stocks dive beyond 5% as U.S.-China tensions flare (CNBC) 

The government will release its June report on new home sales on at 10 a.m. ET, with consensus forecasts calling for a 3.8% jump to an annual rate of 702,000 units. New home sales had surged 16.6% in May.

Euro zone business activity bounces back in July with strongest growth in 2 years (CNBC) 

Verizon (VZ) shares were slightly higher in premarket trading after the Dow component posted adjusted earnings of $1.18 per share, besting Wall Street expectations by 3 cents. Revenues also surpassed forecasts, but were about 5% lower than the same quarter last year. 

American Express (AXP) was down more than 1% in early trading after quarterly revenues came in below Street forecasts. However, the Dow component reported earnings of 29 cents per share, compared to estimates of an 11 cents per share loss. 

Industrial giant Honeywell (HON) posted adjusted quarterly earnings of $1.26 per share, 5 cents better than analyst expectations. Sales were down 19% from the year-ago period as the coronavirus pandemic weighed on the global economy. Honeywell shares moved slightly higher in early trading. There are no earnings reports of note out after today's closing bell.


China ordered the U.S. to shutter its consulate in Chengdu, a city in the country's southwestern region, in the latest geopolitical escalation between the world's two largest economies. The move comes two days after the U.S. told China to close its consulate in Houston and one day Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blasted the Chinese government in a speech. On Tuesday, the Justice Department accused two Chinese hackers of targeting coronavirus vaccine research. The U.S. has five consulates in China, in addition to its Embassy in Beijing. (CNBC) 

FBI interviewing Chinese visa holders suspected of hiding military ties: Justice Department (Reuters)  

The Congressional antitrust hearing featuring the CEOs of Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Google is likely to be delayed, sources told CNBC. The House Judiciary Committee and the Antitrust Subcommittee had scheduled the blockbuster hearing for Monday, but it now conflicts with memorial services for the late Rep. John Lewis, the civil rights titan and long-time Georgia Democrat who died last week. (CNBC)

Robert E. Lee high school in Virginia to be renamed for late Rep. John Lewis (NBC News) 

Senate Republicans intend to release their latest coronavirus relief bill "early next week," according to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. The GOP had hoped to possibly release the draft legislation this week, but the Kentucky Republican said on Thursday that the White House had requested more time to "review the fine details." Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin 

Portions of the Republican National Convention will not be held in person in Jacksonville, Florida, after all, President Donald Trump said Thursday. At a White House briefing, Trump cited the threat of the coronavirus and said he will instead do a campaign speech "in a different form." Trump had pushed to relocate portions of the convention to Jacksonville from Charlotte, North Carolina, after the state's Democratic governor had sought to impose crowd restrictions due to Covid-19 concerns. (CNBC) 

DNC chair reaffirms Democrats' plans for Milwaukee convention after Trump cancels Jacksonville event (USA Today)

Goldman Sachs has agreed to a $3.9 billion settlement with the Malaysian government over the 1MDB scandal, according to the country's finance ministry. The U.S. investment bank has denied wrongdoing since the Malaysian government, in 2018, filed charges that accused Goldman units of misleading investors in a $6.5 billion bond sale that they helped raise for sovereign wealth fund 1MDB. Shares of Goldman were slightly higher in premarket trading. (Reuters) 

New guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention place a heavy focus on reopening schools for in-person classes this fall, noting the social and emotional health risks of keeping students at home. In addition to strong sanitation and social distancing practices, the guidelines also recommend moving classes into under-used spaces or even outside when possible. Trump had previously decried the CDC guidelines as being "very tough" and "expensive" for districts. (NBC News) 

FDA expands hand sanitizer recall to at least 75 brands across the U.S. (NBC News) 

Homemade face masks likely need multiple layers in order to be effective at preventing the transmission of the coronavirus, a new study found. Single-layer masks were able to catch respiratory droplets from speaking, but two-layer masks more effectively stopped droplets from coughing and sneezing, according to researchers at University of New South Wales in Australia. The study found a three-ply surgical mask was the most effective of all. (CNBC) 

* 3 in 4 Americans back requiring wearing masks, poll finds (AP) 


Mattel (MAT) lost 26 cents per share for its latest quarter, smaller than the 34 cent loss that Wall Street was expecting. Revenue was also better than expected, with retail sales of Mattel's flagship Barbie brand jumping 35%.

E*Trade (ETFC) came in 12 cents above estimates with quarterly earnings of 88 cents per share, while the online brokerage's revenue was above estimates as well. E*Trade was helped by heavier trading during a period of stock market volatility.

Walt Disney (DIS) again delayed the release of its "Mulan" movie, while also pushing back new installments of "Star Wars" and "Avatar". At the same time, the Paramount unit of ViacomCBS (VIAC) pushed back the release date of its "Top Gun" sequel, "Top Gun: Maverick".

Skechers (SKX) lost 44 cents per share for its latest quarter, smaller than the 66 cent loss that analysts had been expecting. The shoe maker's revenue also came in ahead of estimates, even though CEO Robert Greenberg said like most businesses, the company had "never faced a more challenging time".

Boston Beer (SAM) more than doubled the consensus estimate of $2.43 per share with quarterly earnings of $4.88 per share for the second quarter, with the Sam Adams beer maker seeing revenue top forecasts as well. Boston Beer was helped by a surge in demand for home consumption of its products even as bars and restaurants were shut down.

AstraZeneca (AZN) received FDA approval for its drug to treat patients with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which is the third leading cause of death globally.*


Baseball is back in the U.S., but stadiums packed with fans are not. That means the best seats in the house may not, technically, even be in the house. Instead, they might be next door — thanks to the trend in recent years of building real estate development near ballparks. (CNBC)