Morning Brief

What to watch today: Wall Street looks to log another positive week



U.S. stock futures fell Friday, one day after a mixed session that saw the Dow dip slightly from its previous record high close, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq eked out new record high closes. All three stock benchmarks were tracking for their second straight positive week, in a continuation of February's strength. (CNBC)

So far this month, the Dow, S&P 500 and Nasdaq increased 4.8%, 5.4% and 7.3%, respectively. The Dow and S&P 500 broke two-month winning streaks in January, while the Nasdaq rose for a fourth month in a row in January. The U.S. stock market is closed on Monday for Presidents Day. (CNBC)

* Federal agencies launch probe into possible manipulation after GameStop trading frenzy (WSJ)

Shares of Disney rose about 2% in premarket trading after the company reported an adjusted fiscal first-quarter profit of 32 cents per share. Analysts had expected a loss of 41 cents per share. Revenue fell 22% to $16.25 billion from a year earlier, though it did beat estimates. (CNBC)

Due to Covid, Disney saw a slump in theme park attendance and box office results, but the success of its streaming video service continued. Disney+ added more than 21 million subscribers during the quarter for a total of 94.9 million. (CNBC)

Bumble (BMBL) shares added another 4% in the premarket after surging nearly 64% in its Wall Street debut Thursday. The dating app operator's Thursday close of $70.31 per share gave it a stock market value of about $7.7 billion and made Whitney Wolfe Herd, the 31-year-old founder and CEO, a billionaire. (CNBC)

On today's economic calendar, the University of Michigan issues its preliminary February data on consumer sentiment at 10 a.m. ET. Economists expect the index to rise to 80.8 from the 79 reading registered at the end of January. (CNBC)


Major airline CEOs are scheduled to meet virtually Friday with the White House's Covid-19 response coordinator to discuss travel-related issues, according to Reuters. The meeting comes as airlines, unions and industry groups strongly object to the possibility of requiring predeparture Covid testing for domestic flights.

The CDC plans to issue new guidelines Friday on how to reopen U.S. schools as safely as possible. Pressure to reopen or expand in-person learning has been building for months as students and parents tire of remote classes. Reopening schools is a top priority for the Biden administration. (Reuters)

The White House secured deals for 100 million additional doses of Pfizer's Covid vaccine and 100 million more of Moderna's. During Thursday's tour of the National Institutes of Health, President Joe Biden said the U.S. will have now enough supply of the two-shot vaccines to inoculate 300 million Americans by the end of July. (CNBC)

Defense lawyers at Trump's impeachment trial are set to begin to make their case about why the former president should not be convicted of inciting last month's deadly attack of the U.S. Capitol. They're prepared to concede that the violence was every bit as traumatic, unacceptable and illegal as Democratic prosecutors described. But they also plan to argue that Trump had nothing to do with it. (AP)

* Top takeaways from Day 3 of Trump's impeachment trial (USA Today)

Trump was sicker from the coronavirus in October than the public was told at the time, according to a new report. Trump, who was president when he contracted Covid-19, had "extremely depressed blood oxygen levels at one point and a lung problem associated with pneumonia caused by the coronavirus," The New York Times reported.

The banking industry is being forced to contend with bitcoin as its latest dizzying ascent and increased adoption among investors, corporations and fintech competitors spark fears of being left behind. JPMorgan co-president Daniel Pinto told CNBC in exclusive remarks what it will take for the bank to embrace bitcoin.

* PayPal CFO says company is unlikely to invest cash in cryptocurrencies (CNBC)


Newell Brands (NWL): The company behind consumer brands like Rubbermaid, Sharpie and Sunbeam reported quarterly profit of 56 cents per share, beating estimates by 8 cents a share. Revenue came in above estimates as well. Newell forecast full-year earnings at $1.55 to $1.65 per share, compared with a consensus estimate of $1.68 a share, amid softness in its writing business that's cutting into strong performances in areas such as appliances and cookware.

Coherent (COHR): Electronic components maker II-VI (IIVI) is planning a $6.5 billion bid for the laser maker, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke to The Wall Street Journal. The bid is worth $260 per share in cash and stock, topping the $226 per share agreement that Coherent already has with Lumentum Holdings (LITE) as well as a $240 per share bid from MKS Instruments (MKSI).

Moody's (MCO): Higher expenses caused the credit rating agency to miss estimates by 6 cents a share, with quarterly earnings of $1.91 per share. Revenue exceeded Wall Street forecasts, however its projected full-year 2021 earnings range is largely above analyst forecasts. Moody's also raised its quarterly dividend to 62 cents per share from 56 cents a share.

Expedia (EXPE): Expedia slid 1.6% premarket after reporting that it lost $2.64 per share for its latest quarter, wider than the loss of $1.97 per share that analysts were anticipating. The online travel services company's revenue fell short of forecasts, amid a 67% drop in bookings due to the resurgence of Covid-19 cases and lockdowns.

Affirm Holdings (AFRM): Affirm tumbled 7.6% premarket after it reported a loss of 45 cents per share in its first results since going public on Jan. 13. That was smaller than the 81 cents a share loss anticipated by Wall Street, and the provider of buy-now, pay-later loans also saw revenue beat forecasts. Affirm forecast weaker-than-expected sales volume for the current quarter, however, as the pandemic-induced boom in online shopping slows.

SurveyMonkey (SVMK): SurveyMonkey tumbled 10.8% in the premarket, after the online survey company provided weaker-than-expected guidance for the current quarter. SurveyMonkey reported a profit of 3 cents per share for its most recent quarter, compared to expectations of a breakeven quarter.

Marathon Oil (MRO): Marathon has laid off about 100 U.S. workers, or about 5% of its workforce, according to a company official who spoke to Reuters. Marathon said its move was part of its continuing effort to optimize its cost structure.

AstraZeneca (AZN): AstraZeneca said it expects to double monthly Covid-19 vaccine production by April after fixing issues with its manufacturing. That would bring monthly production to 200 million doses.

Bausch Health (BHC): Bausch Health jumped 6.3% premarket following news that billionaire investor Carl Icahn has taken a 7.8% stake, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing. Icahn plans to give input on the pharmaceutical company's strategies and possibly seek board representation.

Datadog (DDOG): Datadog reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings and revenue, but the provider of cloud monitoring services is seeing its shares fall 4.7% premarket after it issued a weaker-than-expected outlook.

VeriSign (VRSN): VeriSign shares rose 5.1% in the premarket, after the domain name registration company reported better-than-expected quarterly earnings, with revenue matching Wall Street forecasts. VeriSign also added $747 million to its stock buyback program.