Morning Brief

What to watch today: Wall Street to add to rally after another S&P 500 record

BY THE NUMBERS

U.S. stock futures were pointing to more gains at Tuesday's open after a rally put the Dow Jones Industrial Average within 1% of breaking even for the year and around 4% away from its Feb. 12 record closing high. The S&P 500 hit another record and logged its first close over 3,400 ever. The Nasdaq also closed at another record high. (CNBC)

Global markets were getting a boost Tuesday morning on a renewed commitment by the U.S. and China to their phase one trade deal following a phone call between the two sides late Monday. The U.S. statement included details such as protection of intellectual property rights, while the Chinese statement kept to broad generalities. (CNBC)

On today's economic calendar, the S&P/Case-Shiller report on home prices is out at 9 a.m. ET, with economists looking for a 3.9% rise in June. The government is out with new home sales for July at 10 a.m. ET. An increase of 1.4% is expected for last month. The Conference Board is out also at 10 a.m. ET with its August consumer confidence index. (CNBC)

Powell set to deliver ‘profoundly consequential’ speech, changing how the Fed views inflation (CNBC)

Major changes are coming to the Dow, with three new companies joining the 30-stock benchmark before-the-bell on Monday. Salesforce replaces Exxon Mobil; Amgen replaces Pfizer; and Honeywell replaces Raytheon. The shake-up was prompted by Apple's decision to enact a 4-for-1 stock split, which would significantly reduce the Dow's exposure to the information technology sector. (CNBC)

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IN THE NEWS TODAY

Day 2 of the Republican National Convention features first lady Melania Trump on Tuesday night. She's set to give her speech from the Rose Garden, which she redesigned. The program includes Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, breaking decades of precedent keeping secretaries of State from partaking in overtly partisan politics.

President Donald Trump appeared frequently during the opening of the GOP convention on Monday, as he's expected to do every night. Featured speakers included Donald Trump Jr., and former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley. Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, the only Black Republican in the upper chamber, delivered a forward-looking speech that focused more on policy than the president. (CNBC)

Anti-Trump super PAC Lincoln Project runs $4 million ad blitz (CNBC)
* Ex-Trump lawyer Michael Cohen cuts anti-Trump attack ad (CNBC)

New infections of the coronavirus in the U.S. ticked up to 34,567 on Monday from Sunday but continued a generally downward trend since the most daily cases of the pandemic of over 77,000 on July 16. Cumulative cases in the U.S. stood at over 5.7 million with 177,279 deaths as of Tuesday morning. The U.S. accounts for about a quarter of all global cases and fatalities.

AstraZeneca has started testing an antibody-based cocktail for the treatment and prevention of Covid-19, adding to recent signs of progress from many companies on possible medical solutions to the disease. The British pharmaceutical giant is also among the leaders in the global race to develop a successful coronavirus vaccine.

Best Buy (BBY) said online sales surged 242% in second quarter, but shares were under pressure in Tuesday's premarket on concerns that such gains may be short-lived. Adjusted profit, revenue and same-store sales beat estimates. Best Buy did not provide an outlook for its future results. (CNBC)

Delta Air Lines (DAL) told employees that it will furlough more than 1,900 pilots in October, due to the significant drop in air travel demand. Federal assistance to airlines runs out at the end of September. Close to 2,000 Delta pilots applied for early retirements, but the airline said it wasn't enough to offset the lower staffing needs. (CNBC)

Accenture (ACN) plans to cut at least 25,000 jobs globally, according to the Australian Financial Review. The report said that an initial wave of cuts for the consulting firm, targeting the bottom 5% of employees by performance, was completed earlier this month.

Officials in the Gulf Coast states are warning that Tropical Storm Laura could rapidly intensify into one of the most powerful hurricanes to ever hit the region, with expected landfall in Texas or Louisiana in the next couple days. Laura follows a weakened Marco. The back-to-back storms prompted many energy companies to shutter Gulf operations and ride out the weather. (AP)

* California officials plead with residents to stay out of wildfire evacuation zones (AP)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Apple (AAPL) was prevented by a judge's ruling from shutting down an Epic Games tool used to run offerings from hundreds of app makers. The ruling was part of a legal dispute that has seen Apple block Epic's popular Fortnite game for iOS users.

Tesla (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk suggested in a tweet that battery capacity could leap by up to 50% over the next three to four years. The tweet comes ahead of Tesla's "Battery Day" event scheduled for Sept. 22.

Amazon (AMZN) – Amazon is setting up a luxury brand platform, according to a Women's Wear Daily report. Amazon will give luxury brands full control of their virtual stores, while letting them utilize Amazon's delivery and customer service platforms.

Zoom Video (ZM) said service has been restored after a Monday outage that lasted several hours, preventing users from joining meetings or sign up for accounts.

Medtronic (MDT), the medical device maker, earned 62 cents per share for its fiscal first quarter, well above the 18 cents a share consensus estimate. Revenue also came in above forecasts. Profit was below year-ago levels, but Medtronic said it is now seeing an increase in elective procedures that had slowed due to the pandemic.

Food producer Hormel (HRL) reported quarterly earnings of 37 cents per share, 3 cents a share above estimates. Revenue came in slightly above forecasts. Hormel said its retail business was strong, but that its foodservice business is still recovering.

J.M. Smucker (SJM) reported quarterly earnings of $2.37 per share, beating the $1.67 a share predicted by analysts. Revenue was also above estimates and Smucker raised its full-year profit forecast, with strong demand for products like Uncrustables sandwiches and Folgers coffee.

Palo Alto Networks (PANW) reported quarterly profit of $1.48 per share, beating the consensus estimate by 9 cents a share. The cybersecurity company's revenue also came in above Wall Street forecasts and Palo Alto issued an upbeat forecast as the pandemic and increased remote working increases demand for security products.