Morning Brief

What to watch today: Stocks slightly lower after Wall Street's strong start to September


Dow futures implied an opening decline Thursday after the 30-stock average surged 454 points, or 1.6%, to its first close above 29,000 since Feb. 20 and to about 1.5% away from its Feb. 12 record high. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also rallied Wednesday and closed at new record highs. The Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq were tracking for solid gains for the week. September is picking up where the best August on Wall Street since the 1980s left off. (CNBC)

Initial jobless claims are out at 8:30 ET, with economists forecasting 950,000 new filing for unemployment benefits. However, the figure will not be directly comparable to last week's 1 million claims because the Labor Department has changed how it seasonally adjusts the data. The reporting change begins this week. On Friday, the government releases August employment figures. (CNBC)

Today's earnings calendar is light. Campbell Soup (CPB) reports before the bell while Broadcom (AVGO) and DocuSign (DOCU) are scheduled to release their numbers after the close. 

The U.S. budget deficit is expected to reach $3.3 trillion this year as the federal government spends massively to help the economy weather the coronavirus pandemic. The deficit growth means that next year, the federal debt will be larger than U.S. gross domestic product, a milestone the nation also hit in the aftermath of World War II. (AP) 


Facebook (FB) will ban new political ads in the week leading up to the Nov. 3 presidential election. The social media giant also will work to remove posts that discourage and suppress voting. CEO Mark Zuckerberg said Facebook also will label posts of any candidate or campaign that attempts to declare victory before final election results are actually in, directing users to sources of official results. Facebook has previously received criticism for how it handled political ads and political posts with misinformation. (NBC News & CNBC)

Google proposes new town-like tech hub in Mountain View (CNBC)

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is calling on U.S. states to speed up the approval process for McKesson (MCK), the medical supply company, so it can set up vaccination sites for the coronavirus by Nov. 1. Officials are accelerating vaccine development in the U.S., in hopes of having a safe and effective one by year's end, but scientists are also wary President Donald Trump may apply pressure to regulators to grant approval ahead of the Nov. 3 election. (CNBC) 

Dr. Anthony Fauci says U.S. coronavirus cases are 'unacceptably high' going into Labor Day (CNBC)

Robinhood, the trading platform widely popular with millennials, is reportedly facing a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation related to its disclosures around its practice of selling clients' orders to high-frequency traders. According to the Wall Street Journal, the SEC probe is at an advanced stage and may lead to a fine north of $10 million if the Silicon Valley start-up agrees to settle. Robinhood's popularity has soared during the pandemic, with a new batch of retail investors entering the market.

Juul to cut more jobs, explore exiting Europe and Asia (WSJ)

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden plans to visit Kenosha, Wisconsin today. Trump visited the city earlier this week. Kenosha has been grappling with demonstrations that turned deadly after a White police officer shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, on Aug. 23. Biden and his wife Jill plan to meet with members of Blake's family and other community leaders. The former vice president, ahead of his visit, said, "We've got to heal." (USA Today)

Biden says safe school reopenings is a 'national emergency' that merits FEMA funds (CNBC) 

Trump suggested that his supporters should try voting twice in the November election, once by mail and once in person, as a way to test the mail-in system. "If their system's as good as they say it is, then obviously they won't be able to vote," Trump said Wednesday. It is illegal to vote more than once in an election. Trump has made repeated false or misleading claims about mail-in voting. (NBC News) 

Biden is still ahead of Trump in the polls, but the gap is narrowing (CNBC)  

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced further restrictions on Chinese diplomats in the U.S., requiring them to receive State Department approval in order to visit American university campuses or putting on events outside mission grounds that have more than 50 people. The actions Wednesday are the latest in a geopolitical back-and-forth between the U.S. and China, with tensions rising higher in recent months. (Reuters) 


Tesla's (TSLA) largest shareholder, investment management firm Baillie Gifford, has cut its stake in the electric vehicle maker to less than 5% from 6.32%. Baillie Gifford said it took the action due to portfolio restrictions after the rapid runup in Tesla shares increased its overall percentage of the firm's holdings.

Private-equity firms Blackstone (BX) and Global Infrastructure Partners have made a takeover offer for Kansas City Southern (KSU), according to people familiar with the matter who spoke to The Wall Street Journal.The rail operator currently has a market value of nearly $18.3 billion, and the paper said the value of the takeover bid could not be learned.

Rocket Companies (RKT) reported a profit of $3.5 billion in its first quarter as a public company, compared to a year-ago loss. The parent of Quicken Loans benefited from increased loan volume driven by lower interest rates.

Costco (COST) reported a 13.2% rise in August comparable-store sales, compared to the 10.7% consensus estimate. The warehouse retailer's e-commerce sales more than doubled during the month compared to a year earlier.


Walmart (WMT) typically welcomes hundreds of kids at a convention center near its Arkansas headquarters before each holiday season, letting the children try out toys and select the ones they would like to get from Santa Claus. But like so much else this year, the coronavirus changed those plans. Instead, the retailer mailed toys to some kids to try out and also developed a tool that lets them unbox and play with them virtually. (CNBC)