Morning Brief

What to watch today: S&P 500 set to drop again after reaching highest level eve

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were lower in a continuation of Wednesday's Federal Reserve-induced sell-off late in the session, which knocked the S&P 500 from intraday all-time highs on a day when Apple (AAPL) eclipsed a $2 trillion stock market value. In minutes from the Fed's July meeting, central bankers said they expect coronavirus fallout to "weigh heavily" on the economy. (CNBC)

Futures paired some overnight losses after Chinese officials said that Beijing and Washington agreed to go back to the negotiating table in coming days to review the progress of their trade deal, which was signed in January. Last week, President Donald Trump reiterated that he believes the trade deal was "doing very well." (CNBC)

First-time filings for unemployment benefits moved back above 1 million. The government said Thursday that initial jobless claims for the week ended Aug. 15 totaled 1.106 million. Economists had expected 923,000 new claims. The prior week was revised slightly higher to 971,000; the first total below 1 million since March 21 when the coronavirus lockdowns were taking hold. (CNBC)

With Capitol Hill and the White House still unable to break their stalemate over the lapsed $600-per-week federal unemployment benefits boost, 11 states were approved by the government to offer half that under a Trump executive order. Approved states could start paying out the subsidy as soon as this week. (CNBC)

Dow stock Intel (INTC) jumped in Thursday's premarket after the chipmaker announced an accelerated $10 billion stock buyback program, with CEO Bob Swan saying shares were trading "well below" their valuation. Intel's shares have been under pressure since the company said it was about a year behind on a shift to next-generation technology.

Nvidia (NVDA) fell in the premarket despite the graphics card maker's better-than- expected second-quarter adjusted earnings of $2.18 per share on rosier revenue of $3.87 billion. Nvidia also issued a strong current quarter revenue outlook, but some investors were disappointed with the performance of Nvidia's data center business. (CNBC)

Shares of Apple, also a Dow component, were higher in Thursday's premarket trading, one day after the iPhone maker's market cap went over $2 trillion, doubling in just over two years and becoming the first U.S. public company to reach that milestone. Apple briefly traded above magic number of $466.77 per share, but closed below that level. Apple, like many tech stocks during the pandemic, has seen strong gains in 2020, up 57% this year. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Joe Biden closes out the virtual Democratic National Convention on Thursday night, accepting his party's presidential nomination and arguing for why Americans should vote for him instead of reelecting Trump. Michael Bloomberg is also on the program. (DNC)

In a historic night, Biden running mate Sen. Kamala Harris became the first woman of color to accept a major party vice presidential nomination. The third night of the convention also saw former President Barack Obama rip Trump as incompetent, selfish and full of himself. Obama made the case for his former vice president Biden for the top job. (CNBC)

Trump eager to troll Biden outside his Scranton birthplace (AP)

The president last night said he was "surprised" to learn about the Food and Drug Administration's hold on granting emergency use for an experimental blood treatment for coronavirus patients, saying it may be politically motivated. "You have a lot of people over there who don't want to rush things because they want to do it after November 3," he said. (CNBC)

As some colleges go from in-person classes to full online instruction due to emerging Covid-19 clusters, the president urged universities to continue reopening their campuses. ""The iPads are wonderful but you're not going to learn the same way as being there," he said. (CNBC)

CureVac (CVAC), the German biotech firm, is in advanced talks with the European Commission to supply at least 225 million doses of a potential Covid-19 vaccine to European Union states. CureVac shares were surging about 12% in premarket trading. (Reuters)

Chevron (CVX), General Electric (GE), Baker Hughes (BKR) and Honeywell (HON) signed agreements with the Iraqi government worth as much as $8 billion, designed to help that country's energy industry. The announcement comes ahead of Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi's first-ever visit to the White House today. (Reuters)

Airbnb, initially hurt by the coronavirus halt in travel, has submitted a draft registration to the Securities and Exchange Commission for an initial public offering. However, it rebounded more recently after a surge of rentals in rural areas as residents fled pandemic-stricken cities. (CNBC)

Data analytics software company Palantir Technologies is relocating its headquarters to Denver, Colorado from Palo Alto, California. Palantir also announced early July that it filed confidentially for a public stock offering. CEO Alex Karp has been open in the past about a potential move. (CNBC)

Michigan will pay $600 million to compensate Flint residents whose health was damaged by lead-tainted drinking water after the city heeded state regulators' advice not to treat it properly, an attorney involved in the negotiations told The Associated Press.

STOCKS TO WATCH

Alibaba (BABA), the China-based e-commerce giant, reported better-than-expected profit and revenue for its fiscal first quarter, helped by a pandemic-related boost in online shopping. Alibaba had 874 mobile monthly active users in June, up 28 million from March.

Nio (NIO) launched a new battery leasing service for electric vehicle owners. The China-based company's "battery as a service" offering would let drivers buy an electric vehicle without owning the battery pack, one of its most expensive components, and lower the price of its vehicles.

L Brands (LB) reported a surprise quarterly profit, despite the temporary closure of stores due to the pandemic. Strong sales of sanitizers and soaps helped boost results at the company's Bath & Body Works business, while Victoria's Secret saw a 28% jump In online sales.

BJ's Wholesale Club (BJ) beat estimates by 17 cents a share, with quarterly profit of 77 cents per share. Revenue also came in above estimates. Comparable-store sales excluding fuel rose 24.2%, well above the 15.5% increase predicted by analysts polled by FactSet.

Cosmetics company Estee Lauder (EL) lost 53 cents per share for its latest quarter, wider than the 19 cents a share loss anticipated by Wall Street analysts. Revenue was essentially in line with forecasts. Estee Lauder said it launching a two-year initiative to rebalance its investments, which will include a reduction in its retail footprint and increased emphasis on digital sales. It also plans to cut up to 2,000 jobs globally.

Facebook (FB) won preliminary approval to settle a lawsuit that claims it illegally collected facial recognition and other biometric data from users. Facebook had offered in July to pay $650 million to settle the suit, up $100 million from a prior offer.

Xilinx (XLNX) and Japanese automaker Subaru struck a deal that will see the chipmaker supply semiconductors for Subaru's new driver assistance system. The so-called "Zynq" chip will debut in Subaru's upcoming Levorg midsized hatchback.

International Game Technology (IGT) signed a long-term agreement to provide sports betting technology to casino operator Boyd Gaming (BYD). The agreement will provide IGT's sports betting platform to Boyd's sportsbooks in Nevada, as well as its mobile and online sports betting apps.