Morning Brief

What to watch today: U.S. stocks set to rise, even tech stocks

BY THE NUMBERS

Dow and Nasdaq futures pointed to gains at Wednesday's open, and tech stocks bounced after two rough days. The Nasdaq closed in the red again Tuesday, down nearly 3% this week, in a rotation out of stay-at-home stocks after Pfizer's positive Covid-19 vaccine data Monday raised hopes that life may soon be able to return to some semblance of normal. The U.S. bond market is closed Wednesday for Veterans Day. (CNBC)

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has been a beneficiary of renewed interest in value stocks in the past two sessions, with a 262 point gain Tuesday and an 834 point rise Monday, equal to an almost 4% advance this week on top of last week's rally. As of Tuesday's close, the Dow was only 131 points from its February record high close. (CNBC)

* Goldman sees S&P 500 rallying to 4,300 by end of 2021 on vaccine, divided government (CNBC Pro)
* OPEC cuts 2020 oil demand forecast again on rising Covid cases (CNBC)

Another record low rate on 30-year fixed mortgages last week did not help bring out home buyers. Mortgage application volume fell 0.5% compared with the previous week. Loan amounts have been reaching new highs in the last several weeks due to skyrocketing home prices and comparatively stronger activity on the upper end of the market. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

As he continues to defiantly reject his election defeat, President Donald Trump is expected to visit Arlington National Cemetery for Veterans Day for his first public appearance since Democrat Joe Biden was declared the winner Saturday. As the president pursues legal challenges and continues to tweet unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud, the White House has stymied Biden's access to security briefings and transition funding. (AP)

* Pompeo ignores Biden’s victory, claims there will be a ‘smooth transition’ to a second Trump term (CNBC)

While calling Trump's refusal to concede "an embarrassment," President-elect Biden said Tuesday his transition is "well under way." Biden also said "nothing's going to stop" his work on putting together his administration and reviewing candidates for Cabinet positions. He said he's not reliant on the federal government authorizing funding for the transition or on having access to federal agencies. (CNBC)

* Biden’s agency review teams include tech employees from companies like Amazon, Airbnb and Uber (CNBC)

In the balance of power race in the Senate, Democrat Cal Cunningham conceded Tuesday to Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., one of the last undecided contests. Keeping that seat put the Senate count at 49 Republicans and 48 Democrats, according to NBC News. Three races are not settled, including two in Georgia that are headed for Jan. 5 run-offs. (NBC News)

Russia's RDIF sovereign wealth fund said Wednesday that early results from its phase three clinical trial of the "Sputnik V" vaccine showed 92% efficacy. RDIF said it will publish the interim trial data in a peer-reviewed medical journal but has yet to reveal when. Russia, with 1.8 million confirmed Covid-19 cases, has seen a spike in new infections. (CNBC)

* EU seals deal with Pfizer-BioNTech for supply of 300 million doses of Covid vaccine (Reuters)

The U.S., which has over 8.6 million cumulative cases, saw the eighth straight day of new daily Covid-19 infections in excess of 100,000, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. On Tuesday, a daily record of 136,325 new infections were reported. Texas has become the first U.S. state with total coronavirus cases over 1 million, with California and Florida not too far behind.

* U.S. hits record Covid-19 hospitalizations as case surge shows no signs of slowing (AP)

Alibaba shares that trade Hong Kong dropped nearly 10% after the Chinese government proposed new antitrust regulations, covering areas including pricing, payment methods and use of data to target shoppers. Alibaba's U.S.-listed shares (BABA) closed down nearly 8.3%, wiping off over $60 billion of value in a day. (CNBC)

Alibaba's stock, along with other Chinese tech stocks, was down less than 1% in Wednesday's U.S. premarket trading, despite the Chinese e-commerce giant reporting record Singles Day sales. The annual shopping event in China, which typically lasts 24 hours, started Nov. 1 and runs through midnight China time.

* China’s tech giants have lost more than $280 billion in market value (CNBC)
* NYSE president: Regulatory concerns not reducing demand for Chinese listings (CNBC)

Chinese-owned TikTok has not heard from the Trump administration in weeks as the company tries to figure out whether or not to proceed to sell a minority stake to Oracle (ORCL) and Walmart (WMT). TikTok is still interested in pursuing a technology deal. A technology advisor to Biden said that "it's too early" to know the Biden administration's TikTok policy. (CNBC)

Apple (AAPL) announced Tuesday three new Mac computers, a MacBook Air, a 13-inch MacBook Pro, and a Mac Mini. They essentially look the same as their predecessors. What's new this time is the chip that runs them. Now they're powered by Apple's own M1 chip, ending a 15 year run using Intel's (INTC) processors. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Lyft (LYFT) lost more than $280 million during the third quarter, more than double the loss it reported in the same quarter a year ago.  However, Lyft reported better than expected revenue for the quarter and also said it was working on developing a new food delivery service. The shares rose 5% in premarket trading.

Aurora Cannabis (ACB) announced plans to raise $125 million through a secondary stock offering.  Under terms of the offering, each share would be priced at $7.50 and the buyer would receive a warrant to purchase another share at $9 within 40 months. The stock dropped 15% in premarket trading.

Streaming service fuboTV (FUBO) did report a larger than expected loss for its latest quarter, but revenue exceeded forecasts and the company also gave an upbeat current quarter outlook.  It expects to end the year with 500,000 to 510,000 subscribers, which would be up 58% to 62% compared to a year earlier. The shares gained 30% in premarket trading.

Tencent Music (TME) reported better than expected profit and revenue for its latest quarter, boosted by growth in paying users for its music streaming service.  Tencent said it is seeing a continued improvement in the retention rate of paying users. The shares added 4% in premarket trading.

AT&T's (T) WarnerMedia unit is expected to lay off up to 1,750 workers, about 7% of its staff, according to multiple reports. WarnerMedia, the operator of HBO, TBS, CNN and the Warner Bros. TV and film studio, plans to hold an all-hands meeting today to give more information on the cuts to employees.

General Electric (GE) has ended its so-called Corporate Audit Staff program, as part of CEO Larry Culp's effort to simplify operations. The program allowed workers to rotate through various divisions of the company to groom them for future leadership positions.

WATERCOOLER

Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) will open the doors to its first digital-only restaurant Saturday. Unlike a traditional Chipotle location, it will not include a dining room or a line for ordering. Customers have to order in advance on Chipotle's app, website or third-party delivery platforms. (CNBC)