Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow to rise as Wall Street monitors D.C. coronavirus relief talks



Dow futures implied an opening gain of about 130 points as Wall Street looks to Washington for the latest on coronavirus relief legislation talks. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were also positive. Last week, the S&P 500 wrapped up its best July in 10 years and posted its fourth weekly gain in five. The Nasdaq, which rose 6.8% in July, is riding a three-day win streak and is within reach of another record high today. (CNBC) 

U.S. Treasury yields move higher as investors monitor economic data, auctions (CNBC) 

The Institute For Supply Management is out with its July Manufacturing Index at 10:00 a.m. ET, with consensus forecasts calling for a reading of 53.8 compared to June's 52.6. At the same time, the government is out with June construction spending, expected to be up 1.2% after falling 2.1% in May.

Earnings season continues with Clorox (CLX), Marathon Petroleum (MPC) and Tyson Foods (TSN) out before the bell today. Texas Roadhouse (TXRH), Hyatt Hotels (H) and Tenet Healthcare (THC) report after the close.  

Clorox names longtime executive its new CEO, as company beats estimates on pandemic-led demand (CNBC) 


Microsoft (MSFT) confirmed it is in talks to acquire TikTok, the popular social media video app, in the U.S. from Chinese tech firm ByteDance, saying in a statement Sunday night it hoped to conclude talks by Sept. 15. Microsoft is proceeding with the potential deal after CEO Satya Nadella discussed it with President Donald Trump, the statement said. Trump on Friday said he intended to ban TikTok from the U.S., citing national security concerns, and also expressed opposition to Microsoft potentially buying the app after the possibility surfaced in media reports. (CNBC) 

Trump to take action on Chinese software firms in the coming days: Pompeo (CNBC) 

Talks continue on Capitol Hill over the next piece of coronavirus relief legislation, with the White House and Democratic lawmakers divided on how to proceed with the recently expired $600-per-week federal supplement to unemployment insurance. White House chief of staff Mark Meadows told CBS on Sunday that he was "not optimistic that there will be a solution in the very near term." However, the two sides appear to be in agreement over the bill including another round of $1,200 stimulus checks for Americans. (CNBC) 

Eli Lilly (LLY) has begun a late-stage trial for one of its experimental Covid-19 antibody treatments to determine whether it can prevent the spread of the virus in nursing home residents and staff, the company announced today. The drug, which is being developed with Canadian firm AbCellera, is also being tested as a treatment for hospitalized patients who are sick with Covid-19. This trial in nursing homes — which have been sites of deadly outbreaks during the pandemic — is seeking to determine if the antibody drug can be effective in preventing the disease. Shares of Eli Lily were up more than 2% in premarket trading. (Reuters) 

Covid-19 testing delays create a public health nightmare as schools and workplaces try to reopen (CNBC) 

White House coronavirus task force coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx warned the U.S. is in a "new phase" of its Covid-19 epidemic, describing it as different than the outbreaks of March and April. "It is extraordinarily widespread ... it's more widespread and it's both rural and urban," she said Sunday on CNN. Birx urged Americans, regardless of where they live, to wear a face covering and continue social distancing. The current transmission is often happening at "super spreading events," rather than from so-called super spreading individuals, Birx said. "We need to stop those." (CNBC) 

Nation's testing czar: It's 'time to move on' from talk about hydroxychloroquine (NBC News) 

Minneapolis Federal Reserve President Neel Kashkari said the U.S. economic recovery depends on the country's ability to bring the coronavirus under control, suggesting a hard, four-to-six week shutdown may be needed at this point to significantly slow transmission. In an interview Sunday on CBS, Kashkari said there would be "many more business bankruptcies" if the virus continues to spread across the U.S. for the "next year or two," with localized outbreaks and lockdowns. "That's going to be a much slower recovery for all of us," he said. (Reuters) 

Marathon Petroleum (MPC) has reached a deal to sell its Speedway gas stations for $21 billion to Seven & i Holdings, the Japanese retail group that owns 7-Eleven. Seven & i had reportedly abandoned a deal earlier this year to acquire Speedway, partly due to the advent of the coronavirus pandemic. The acquisition, one of the largest this year, will allow Seven & i to further expand in the North American market, adding about 3,900 Speedway stores to its roughly 9,800 7-Eleven-operated stores, the company said. Under the deal, which is expected to close early next year, Marathon has a 15-year, 7.7 billion gallon per year fuel supply deal associated with the Speedway business, the company said. (Reuters) 

Department store chain Lord & Taylor, one of the oldest in the U.S., has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, becoming the latest retailer to do so during a coronavirus pandemic that has caused significant economic disruption. Founded in 1826 as a dry-goods store, Lord & Taylor was sold last year to Le Tote, a clothing rental subscription service. Le Tote also filed for bankruptcy. In a letter posted to its website, Lord & Taylor said it was looking for a new owner. (AP and WSJ) 

Retail rents plummet across New York City, as America's glitzy shopping districts turn into ghost towns (CNBC) 


ADT (ADT) is receiving a $450 million investment from Alphabet's (GOOGL) Google unit in exchange for a 6.6% stake in ADT. It's part of a partnership that will see ADT offer Google's Nest smart home devices to its customers. Each company will also commit $150 million to expand product and service offerings.

Capital One (COF) cut its quarterly dividend to 10 cents per share from 40 cents, a reduction of 75%. The payout will be made on August 20 to shareholders of record as of August 10.

News Corp (NWSA) announced the resignation of James Murdoch from its board of directors. Murdoch said he was resigning due to disagreements over editorial policy and other strategic decisions by the Wall Street Journal publisher.

Carnival (CCL) postponed the planned start of cruises by its AIDA cruises unit while it awaits approvals from the Italian government to resume sailings. Trips that had been scheduled between August 5-12 have been canceled.

Varian Medical Systems (VAR) agreed to be bought by Germany's Siemens Healthineers for $16.4 billion in cash, or $177.50 per share. The price for the cancer care specialist represents a 24% premium to Varian's Friday closing price.

Spirit Aerosystems (SPR) is cutting 1,100 jobs, with the Boeing (BA) supplier citing Boeing's recently announced production cutbacks as well as the ongoing pandemic.

Zoom Video Communications (ZM) will halt selling products directly to customers in mainland China. According to a letter seen by CNBC, Zoom will begin the new policy on August 23 and only offer services in China through third-party partners.

Nio (NIO) delivered 3,533 vehicles in July, more than quadruple year-ago levels for the Chinese electric vehicle maker. Nio also said it would be able to increase its production capacity significantly to support higher deliveries during the current quarter.


Elon Musk's SpaceX safely returned two NASA astronauts to Earth on Sunday, with Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley touching down inside the Crew Dragon spacecraft in the Gulf of Mexico. The two-month mission represented the first time a private company, not a government superpower, sent people into orbit. (CNBC)