U.S. stock futures were down sharply on Wednesday morning as traders fear the rising number of coronavirus cases could hurt the economic recovery. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures traded nearly 500 points lower, or more than 1.5%. S&P 500 futures slid 1.4% and Nasdaq 100 futures dipped 1%. Shares of Delta and Royal Caribbean — two companies that depend on the economy reopening — declined in the premarket.
Illinois Gov. Jay Pritzker said restaurants and bars will not be allowed to serve customers indoors starting Friday as the state tries to curb its recent uptick in coronavirus cases. Pritzker added that gatherings will be limited to 25 people or 25% of overall room capacity. Those measures come as the average daily number of U.S. coronavirus cases is at an all-time high and Covid-19-related hospitalizations rise in most states.
The CEOs of Facebook, Google and Twitter are slated to testify Wednesday in front of the Senate Commerce Committee and are expected to argue against repealing Section 230, a statute that protects social media networks from liability for their users' posts. In prepared remarks, Google-parent Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai said Section 230 has been "foundational to U.S. leadership in the tech sector." He added that "As you think about how to shape policy in this important area, I would urge the Committee to be very thoughtful about any changes to Section 230 and to be very aware of the consequences those changes might have on businesses and consumers."
Microsoft reported fiscal first-quarter earnings and revenue that beat analyst expectations, led by strong year-over-year growth in its cloud computing business. The tech giant posted an adjusted profit of $1.82 per share on revenue of $37.15 billion. Analysts expected earnings of $1.54 per share on revenue of $35.75 billion. However, the stock was down about 2% in the premarket after the company said it expects fiscal second-quarter revenue to range between $39.5 billion and $40.4 billion, falling short of analyst expectations.
Jon Stewart, the former host of "The Daily Show," is returning to television with a new show on Apple TV+. Stewart's new show will be a one-hour program discussing topics of national interest along with his advocacy work, Apple TV+ said. The show is expected to debut in 2021.