Morning Brief

What to watch today: S&P 500 to try again to close at a record high


U.S. stock futures were pointing to gains at Tuesday's open after two Dow component retailers, Walmart (WMT) and Home Depot (HD), reported stronger earnings. The S&P 500 finished Monday's session just over 4 points below its last closing record of 3,386.15 on Feb. 19. The S&P 500 has rebounded more than 50% since hitting its coronavirus-driven low of 2,191.86 on March 23. (CNBC)

Before the opening bell on Wall Street, at 8:30 a.m. ET, the government issues housing starts for July. Economists expect a 4.6% gain to an annual rate of 1.24 million units. Housing starts surged 17.3% in June. (CNBC)


Shares of Walmart, which logged an all-time high Monday, rose as much as 6% in the premarket after the company blew away expectations with adjusted per-share earnings of $1.56 on a 5.6% total revenue increase to $137.74 billion. Online sales during the pandemic nearly doubled as customers got packages shipped their homes and used curbside pickup at physical stores. (CNBC)

Shares of Home Depot rose 1% in Tuesday's premarket after the home improvement retailer delivered a 23% increase in second-quarter sales as consumers take on more DIY projects in pandemic. Revenue of $38.05 billion was better than expected and so was adjusted per-share profit of $4.02. Home Depot's stock also hit an all-time high during Monday's trading. (CNBC)

The all-virtual Democratic National Convention continues Tuesday night, with progressive champion Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez speaking. Former President Bill Clinton and Joe Biden's wife, Jill, close out the evening, which starts at 9 p.m. ET. (DNC)

On Day 1 of the convention, former first lady Michelle Obama delivered a searing address, saying President Donald Trump is "clearly in over his head" and "cannot meet this moment." Sen. Bernie Sanders also spoke Monday night, saying the "future of our democracy is at stake" to vote out Trump and elect Biden. (CNBC)

The Trump administration is willing to support funding for the U.S. Postal Service if it accompanies a package of coronavirus stimulus measures, according to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. The Hill reports that Senate Republicans could unveil such a plan as early as Tuesday, including $10 billion for the post office, a $300-per-week federal unemployment pandemic boost and additional funding for coronavirus testing and schools.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is canceling in-person undergraduate classes and shifting them entirely to remote learning following a coronavirus outbreak across campus just two weeks after students returned for the fall semester. Courses in the graduate, professional and health affairs schools will "continue to be taught as they are, or as directed by the schools." UNC still plans play sports this fall. (CNBC and NBC News)

Despite coronavirus work-from-home trends and people bolting for the suburbs, Amazon is expanding offices in six major cities and preparing to add 3,500 jobs. Amazon plans to put 2,000 of those new workers in New York City's historic Fifth Avenue building that once housed retailer Lord & Taylor. The e-commerce and cloud giant bought the location from WeWork for more than $1 billion, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Oracle (ORCL) is in talks to buy TikTok's U.S., Canadian, Australian and New Zealand assets, according to a person familiar with the matter. Oracle's interest challenges Microsoft (MSFT), which has been in talks to acquire the same TikTok assets for more than a month. Trump issued an executive order Friday to force Chinese owner ByteDance to sell or spin off its U.S. TikTok business within 90 days. (CNBC)


Kohl's (KSS) lost 25 cents per share for its latest quarter, smaller than the 83 cents a share loss that Wall Street analysts had anticipated. Revenue also came in above estimates, though Kohl's declined to report comparable-sales figures due to store closures. The retailer said it expects the pandemic to continue to impact its business.

Advance Auto Parts (AAP) earned $2.92 per share for the second quarter, well above the $1.98 a share consensus estimate. Revenue also beat forecasts, and a comparable-store sales increase of 7.5% easily beat the consensus forecast of a 2.6% rise. Advance Auto said it benefited from the effects of stimulus checks, unemployment benefits, and Covid-19′s impact on consumer behavior.

Carnival (CCL) is investigating a ransomware attack against one of its cruise brands, involving the personal data of guests and employees. Carnival did not say which brand was involved and did not give further details, saying the probe was in the early stages.

Uber (UBER) plans to continue operating its Uber Eats food delivery service in California, even if it shuts down its ride-hailing operation this week. Uber and rival Lyft (LYFT) both said they would shut ride-sharing services in California if a court ruling forces them to classify workers as employees rather than contractors.

Boeing (BA) plans to offer voluntary layoffs to employees for the second time this year, according to a note written by CEO Dave Calhoun to Boeing workers. The jet maker did not set a specific reduction target, but is realigning its workforce to deal with the virus-induced drop in travel demand.

Pinterest (PINS) named Andrea Wishom to its board of directors, the third woman to be appointed to the image-sharing company's board and the first Black member. The move follows accusations by former Pinterest Chief Operating Officer Francoise Brougher that Pinterest's work environment was hostile for women.

Apollo Global Management (APO) engaged in unsuccessful buyout talks with discount retailer Big Lots (BIG), according to a Bloomberg report. The talks ended last week, with the major stumbling block reported to have been the terms of a sale-leaseback agreement that Big Lots signed with private equity firm Oak Street Capital in June.

Cal-Maine Foods (CALM) announced a six million share secondary stock offering. The shares are being sold by Jean Reed Adams, wife of the egg producer's late founder, Fred Adams Jr. Cal-Maine will not receive any proceeds from the offering.


The NBA playoffs in the coronavirus-bubble at Disney World in Florida continue with four more games Tuesday. The first round began yesterday with the Denver Nuggets beating the Utah Jazz; the Toronto Raptors beating the New Jersey Nets; the Boston Celtics beating the Philadelphia 76ers; and the Los Angeles Clippers beating the Dallas Mavericks.