Morning Brief

What to watch today: Stock futures lower ahead of latest inflation data

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U.S. equity futures are pointing to a lower open and an extension of the losses on Monday and Tuesday that have sent the Nasdaq to its lowest level since March 31. Dow futures implied a drop of about 100 points at today's opening bell, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures were also red. (CNBC)

* Treasury yields dip despite anticipated inflation jump (CNBC)

The Dow is the only major average still higher for May, by 1.2% after the two-day slide. The S&P 500, meanwhile, went negative for the month following Tuesday's 0.9% decline. The tech-heavy Nasdaq is down 4.1% so far in May. However, the one possibly upbeat note does come from the Nasdaq, which completely erased an early 2.2% drop Tuesday to briefly go positive before ultimately finishing down just 0.1%.

With inflation a growing concern among investors, this morning's April Consumer Price Index report is likely to be closely monitored. The 8:30 a.m. ET release is expected to show a 0.2% rise in headline inflation, with the ex-food & energy inflation rate higher by 0.3%. Those numbers rose 0.6% and 0.3% respectively in March.

* All eyes are on this inflation number, which could have the biggest gain in nearly a decade (CNBC)

Total mortgage application volume rose 2.1% last week from the previous week, according to the data released today from the Mortgage Bankers Association. The uptick follows a brief decline in mortgage interest rates, prompting some to seek out potential savings. (CNBC)

The earnings calendar is relatively light this morning, with Wendy's (WEN) and Wolverine World Wide (WWW) among the few companies scheduled to report. Jack In The Box (JACK), Sonos (SONO), Bumble (BMBL), Poshmark (POSH) and Vroom (VRM) are among the companies set to report after the closing bell.

The daily average of new U.S. coronavirus infections continues to fall, dipping below 40,000 this week for the first time since September, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. The decline comes as more than 45% of the U.S. population has now received at least one Covid vaccine dose. (CNBC)

* India hits another grim record as WHO says it accounted for half of last week's reported cases (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Gas shortages across parts of the American southeast and mid-Atlantic regions could become more common if the Colonial Pipeline is not back in business in the coming days. Prices at the pump could also continue to rise. "This is already an earthquake and the magnitude of the earthquake just grows by the day," RBC energy analyst Michael Tran said. (CNBC)

Coronavirus vaccine booster shots will be available to Americans for free if they are needed to fight the ongoing pandemic, according to Dr. David Kessler, chief science officer of the White House's Covid response team. Kessler made the comments at a Senate hearing. "Beyond 2022, I look to your guidance for at what point do you transition back to a commercial market," he told lawmakers. (CNBC)

* Uber and Lyft will offer free rides to vaccination sites in White House partnership until July 4 (CNBC)

Executives from major U.S. and U.K. airlines are stepping up the pressure on their respective governments around coronavirus-related restrictions in hopes of initiating a "meaningful restart to transatlantic travel." In a letter to the British and American transportation secretaries, the airline CEOs noted the pick-up in Covid vaccinations, as well as the economic benefits of making travel between the two countries easier. (CNBC)

* 'CDC's credibility is eroding' amid conflicting mask guidance, ex-Obama official says (CNBC)

Wyoming Rep. Liz Cheney intends to continue criticizing former President Donald Trump for repeatedly promoting the falsehood that the 2020 election was stolen from him, people familiar with the matter told CNBC. The revelation comes even as Cheney's fellow House Republicans appear likely to relieve the conservative lawmaker from her leadership duties. (CNBC)

* Trump administration officials to testify on Jan. 6 riots (Associated Press)

Amazon (AMZN) scored a victory in its appeal against the European Commission, the EU's executive arm that had ordered the e-commerce and cloud giant to pay back $303 million in taxes to Luxembourg, home to its European subsidiary. The EU's general court said the commission had not proven that Luxembourg actually had given an illegal tax advantage to Amazon. The European Commission can appeal the general court's ruling up to the EU's highest court.

* Tesla's China sales tumble 27% in April from March (CNBC)

The Department of the Interior gave the green light Tuesday to Vineyard Wind 1, which it described as "the first large-scale, offshore wind project in the United States." The 800 megawatt project, to be located off the coast of Massachusetts, is expected to generate enough power for 400,000 residencies and businesses. (CNBC)

Violence between Israelis and Hamas has intensified in recent days, with the back-and-forth airstrikes representing the most significant outbreak in years. In Gaza, 43 Palestinians have been killed, according to the Health Ministry, while the death toll in Israel stands at six people. Diplomats are attempting to bring about a cease-fire. (Associated Press)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Electronic Arts (EA) earned an adjusted $1.23 per share for its latest quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.05, while the video game maker's revenue also came in above Wall Street forecasts. EA also issued an upbeat annual forecast, expecting the pandemic-related momentum to continue even as Covid-related restrictions ease.

fuboTV (FUBO) reported an adjusted first-quarter loss of 59 cents per share, wider than the 46 cent loss that Wall Street analysts had been expecting. The provider of streaming sports programming did, however, see revenue beat estimates, and it also increased its 2021 outlook.

Vizio (VZIO) earned 2 cents per share for the first quarter, compared to Wall Street's predictions of a 10 cents per share loss for the smart TV maker. Revenue also came in above analyst forecasts in Vizio's first report since going public in March.

QuantumScape (QS) lost 20 cents per share during its first quarter, compared to a consensus forecast of a 7 cents per share loss. The startup battery maker did not report any revenue for the quarter, in line with Wall Street's expectations, although it did say it met a contractual milestone with automaker Volkswagen by delivering battery cells for further testing.

Diageo (DEO) said it expects organic operating growth of at least 14% for fiscal 2021, which ends June 30. The world's largest spirits maker also said it has restarted its share buyback program.

Lordstown Motors (RIDE) will restate its 2020 financial results, following SEC guidance on accounting by special purpose acquisition companies, or SPACs. The electric pickup truck maker went public last October through a merger with blank-check company DiamondPeak Holdings.

Kontoor Brands (KTB) raised earnings guidance, saying it now expects full-year earnings of $3.70 to $3.80 per share compared to the previous guidance of $3.50 to $3.60. The maker of Lee and Wrangler jeans is expecting a bump in sales as vaccinations increase and consumers start spending more.