Morning Brief

What to watch today: Wall Street set to start new week higher as investors monitor Trump's health


Dow futures were pointing to a strong gain at Monday's open as Wall Street considers what President Donald Trump's Covid-19 diagnosis means 29 days before the election and for difficult talks over additional coronavirus economic stimulus. (CNBC)

The Dow dropped nearly 0.5% on Friday, though off the lows of the session following Trump's overnight tweet announcing his positive status. The S&P 500 fell nearly 1% and the Nasdaq sank 2.2% as Friday's slide in tech stocks took at greater toll on those indexes. Despite Friday's weakness, all three stock benchmarks were higher on the week. (CNBC)

Two readings of the U.S. services economy are out this morning, beginning with the final September Markit services PMI at 9:45 a.m. ET and the ISM nonmanufacturing undex for September at 10 a.m. ET. There are no major earnings reports scheduled for release either before the stock market's open or after the closing bell this afternoon. (CNBC)


White House physicians said Trump may be released from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday following disclosures about treatment protocols and confusing accounts over how he's doing. On Sunday, the president briefly ventured outside Walter Reed in a motorcade to greet cheering supporters, a move doctors condemned for disregarding precautions designed to contain coronavirus spread. (CNBC)

* Trump didn't disclose first positive Covid-19 test Thursday before Fox News interview while awaiting a second test (WSJ)
Pence, negative for coronavirus, to carry heavy share of campaign responsibility in final stretch (NBC News)
* Barack Obama to U.S. voters: 'Our elections matter to everyone' (CNBC's Make It)
* Coronavirus hospitalizations grow in the Midwest amid climbing cases (CNBC)

Trump, 74, released a series of videos over the weekend to try to reassure voters. He also resumed tweeting, and in one post, called on Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill to work together to pass another new Covid-19 economic relief package. Trump also tweeted a prediction Monday morning that the stock market was getting ready to break its all-time high. He encouraged supporters to vote. (CNBC)

Over the weekend, Trump's doctors revealed the president experienced two drops in his oxygen levels, on Friday and Saturday, but has since improved. Doctors said Sunday the president began treatment with dexamethasone, a steroid that has shown promise for critically ill patients but may cause harm to those with less severe cases. (CNBC)

Since his diagnosis, Trump was also treated with Gilead Sciences' anitiviral drug remdesivir, which has been approved for emergency use, and an experimental antibody cocktail from Regeneron Pharmaceuticals. Gilead and Regeneron shares were higher in Monday's premarket. (CNBC)

In a NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, taken after Tuesday's debate but before Trump announced his positive Covid-19 test, Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden jumped out to a 14-point lead in the race. Survey respondents also favored Biden on the question of who would better handle making appointments to the Supreme Court, which opens its new term Monday. (CNBC & AP)

Despite three GOP senators testing positive for coronavirus, Republican leaders continued to vow to push forward quickly with confirmation hearings on conservative federal appellate judge Amy Coney Barrett, the president's nominee to replace the late liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Democrats used the positive tests to bolster their calls to fill Ginsburg's seat after the Nov. 3 election. (CNBC)

New York City's Democratic mayor has asked the state for permission to close schools and reinstate restrictions on nonessential businesses in several neighborhoods because of a resurgence of the coronavirus. Over the past two weeks, the number of new cases has been rising in pockets of the city, largely in neighborhoods in Brooklyn and Queens, home to the city's large Orthodox Jewish population. (AP)

* Ex-CDC director: New York City is ‘on the edge of a precipice’ as cases grow (CNBC)
* Coronavirus hospitalizations grow in the Midwest amid climbing cases (CNBC)
* Paris put on 'maximum alert' with more Covid-19 restrictions to come (CNBC)

AMC Entertainment (AMC) and Cinemark (CNK) are under pressure after rival movie theater operator Cineworld announced the closure of its more than 500 U.S. Regal theaters, as well as its theaters in the U.K., and as movie studios continue to delay major releases. (Reuters)

Disneyland resort will remain closed for the time being after California regulators agreed to hear more input from theme park operators before issuing new reopening guidelines. Democratic California Gov. Gavin Newsom had planned to release the new rules Friday. Disney (DIS) shares were modestly lower Friday but up in Monday's premarket. (AP)


MyoKardia (MYOK) agreed to be bought by Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) for $225 per share in cash, or $13.1 billion, a 61% premium to its closing price Friday. MyoKardia's lead drug is a treatment for irregular heart rhythms and the acquisition will lessen Bristol-Myers' dependence on its lineup of cancer drugs.

Eidos Therapeutics (EIDX) announced a merger with BridgeBio Pharma (BBIO), with Eidos shareholders receiving either $73.26 per share in cash or 1.85 shares of BridgeBio Pharma. Eidos had closed Friday at $51.92 per share. The cash payout will be limited to a maximum of $175 million.

Sports betting firm DraftKings (DKNG) announced a public offering of 32 million class "A" shares, half by the company and half by certain selling stockholders. DraftKings will use the proceeds that it receives for general corporate purposes.

Sony (SNE) has applied for U.S. approval to continue selling its products to China's Huawei Technologies. Huawei is one of the biggest customers for Sony's smartphone image sensors. The U.S. government has been pressuring other countries to stop selling to Huawei.

Facebook (FB) lawyers have prepared a 14-page document designed to rebut calls to break up the social media giant. The document, seen by The Wall Street Journal, said that breaking the company up would defy established law, harm consumers, and cost billions of dollars.

Coca-Cola (KO) will discontinue production of its Zico coconut water brand by the end of the year, according to a Coke spokeswoman who spoke to The Wall Street Journal. People familiar with the matter told the paper that some less popular versions of Coke and Diet Coke are also under review.

Major shareholder Carl Icahn is willing to accept a bid of about $50 per share for truck maker Navistar (NAV), according to sources who spoke to the New York Post, but may find himself in a battle with a board member.