Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow to open slightly higher as coronavirus aid remains in focus


Dow futures implied an opening gain of about 70 points as investors mull the latest on coronavirus economic aid to Americans. S&P 500 futures were  little changed, while Nasdaq futures were narrowly lower. Although the Nasdaq is coming off its first drop in seven sessions, the S&P 500 is coming to the forefront with weekly gains in five of the past six weeks and a six-day win streak. It is also now within 1% of its February record closing high. (CNBC)

Treasury yields edge higher as investors monitor stimulus hopes and U.S.-China relations (CNBC) 

It's a light day for economic reports, with only the Labor Department's "JOLTS" report for June out at 10 a.m. ET. The measure of job opportunities and labor turnover showed 5.4 million job openings as of the end of May. 

Canopy Growth (CGC), Marriott (MAR), Barrick Gold (ABX), and Royal Caribbean (RCL) release quarterly earnings this morning. IAC/InterActive (IAC), Occidental Petroleum (OXY), and Simon Property (SPG) are set to report after the bell. 

U.S. confirmed cases of Covid-19 topped 5 million this weekend, the most of any country, according to Johns Hopkins University data. The average of new daily infections appeared to level off last week, with 54,235 per day. That's down from a peak of 67,902, based on a seven-day average, on July 19. (CNBC) 


President Donald Trump took four actions this weekend that he says will provide help to Americans after Democratic leaders and administration officials were unable to strike a deal on a broader coronavirus relief package. But questions are being raised over whether those measures — on a federal unemployment supplement, payroll tax deferral, student loan payments and renters facing eviction — will deliver the level of support as being advertised. (Associated Press) 

* 'We have to reach an agreement': Dems, White House open to deal on Covid-19 relief despite Trump's orders (USA Today) 

Jimmy Lai, the Hong Kong media tycoon, today became the highest-profile person to be arrested under the sweeping national security law imposed by China earlier this summer. Lai, who is a prominent pro-democracy activist and founder of media company Next Digital,  and at least eight other men were arrested for suspicion of collusion with a foreign government, according to Hong Kong police. Critics have worried the security law would be used to target human rights activists and other Beijing opponents in the former British colony. The arrests come as tensions between Beijing and Washington have been intensifying. (Reuters) 

China sanctions 11 U.S. politicians, heads of organizations (Associated Press)

Amazon (AMZN) is in talks with Simon Property Group to turn closed Sears and J.C. Penney stores into fulfillment centers, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal. The potential deal may help Amazon's last-mile delivery because it would bring fulfillment space closer to customers, which could help shorten the time it takes to get packages to doorsteps. (WSJ) 

Twitter (TWTR) has expressed interest in acquiring the U.S. operations of TikTok from its Chinese owner ByteDance, Reuters reported. However, experts had some doubt over Twitter's ability to finance a deal to acquire the wildly popular video social media app, which Trump has threatened to ban from the U.S., citing national security concerns. Microsoft (MSFT) is still seen as the leader to acquire TikTok. (Reuters) 

TikTok to sue Trump administration over ban, as soon as Tuesday (NPR) 

The Georgia high school where a photo of crowded hallways and students without masks went viral is switching to online classes for at least today and Tuesday after six students and three employees tested positive for Covid-19. The school, North Paulding High School, which is located northwest of Atlanta, will be disinfected and the district will conduct a search for other people who may also be infected with the coronavirus. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution) 

Another level of college football won't have 2020 playoffs as sport inches closer to total fall shutdown (NBC News)

 Xpeng Motors, the Chinese electric vehicle maker, has filed for an initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange. A rival to Tesla (TSLA), Xpeng Motors' IPO would come at a time of intense investor interest in electric vehicle stocks, but also at a period of growing scrutiny of Chinese firms that seek to list on U.S. exchanges. (CNBC) 


Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) reported a 10% drop in operating profit from a year ago during the second quarter, and took a $9.8 billion writedown for its struggling Precision Castparts unit. However, overall profit jumped 86%, thanks to gains in Berkshire's investment portfolio.

Roper Technologies (ROP) is in talks to buy insurance software vendor Vertafore for about $5.5 billion, according to a Reuters report. If Roper can strike the deal for the private equity-owned Vertafore, it would be the software company's largest acquisition to date.

AT&T (T)'s WarnerMedia unit has removed key members of the leadership team at the company's HBO MAX service as part of a reorganization. WarnerMedia Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt and head of content Kevin Reilly were ousted, with Warner Brothers Chair and Chief Executive Ann Sarnoff now in charge of all content distributed on company platforms.

A $765 million government loan to Eastman Kodak (KODK) has been put on hold, with the U.S. International Development Finance Corp. saying it was taking that action due to "recent allegations of wrongdoing." The investigation centers around the granting of stock options to executives one day before the loan was announced.


Tens of thousands of people have arrived in Sturgis, South Dakota, for the town's 80th annual motorcycle rally, which began over the weekend despite concern over the coronavirus pandemic. (NY Times)