Morning Brief

What to watch today: Dow set to retreat from Friday's record high close

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BY THE NUMBERS

Dow futures dropped Monday, indicating a retreat at Wall Street's open for the 30-stock average from Friday's record high close. The Dow finished last week jumping 448 points, or 1.3%. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq also gained about 1% each, with both logging record closes as well. Friday's rally, which reversed a broad sell-off in the prior session, was enough to nudge all three benchmarks to into positive territory for last week. (CNBC)

Ahead of key inflation reports Tuesday and Wednesday — and questions about whether increasing price pressures are transitory as the Federal Reserve believes — the 10-year Treasury yield dipped Monday to around 1.33%. The benchmark yield went as low as 1.25% on Thursday to levels not seen since February. The 10-year yield hit a 14-month high of 1.78% in March. It began 2021 at less than 1%. (CNBC)

The banks kick off second-quarter earnings reporting season this week. According to Refinitiv, profits for S&P 500 companies in the April-to-June quarter are expected to be up 65% from the same period last year during the depths of the Covid pandemic. (CNBC)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Richard Branson, after nearly 17 years of development and over a billion of dollars invested in Virgin Galactic, achieved his dream of reaching space. Speaking from his spacecraft's cabin Sunday, Branson described the flight as the "complete experience of a lifetime." After landing, he said, "I have dreamt of this moment since I was a kid, and honestly nothing could prepare you for the view of Earth from space." (CNBC)

* Virgin Galactic shares jump after successful Branson flight (CNBC)

Jeff Bezos is set to be on the first flight of his space company, Blue Origin, on July 20. Launching ahead of Bezos and Elon Musk, Branson became the first of the billionaire space company founders to ride his own spacecraft. The Wall Street Journal said Musk bought a ticket for a future Virgin Galactic flight. Neither Musk nor his space company SpaceX immediately responded to CNBC for comment.

* Tesla CEO Musk goes to trial Monday to defend $2.6 billion SolarCity acquisition (CNBC)

Pfizer plans to meet with top U.S. health officials Monday to make its case for federal authorization of a third dose of its Covid vaccine. On Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci didn't rule out the possibility, but he said it was too soon for the government to recommend another shot. (AP)

* Rare case shows it's possible to have two Covid variants at the same time, experts say (CNBC)

In the latest fallout from the Chinese government's crackdown on its nation's tech companies, the owner of TikTok reportedly put its offshore IPO plans on hold. ByteDance took a different approach than Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi, which went ahead with its listing in the U.S. at the end of June, when it got a warning from the Chinese government, according to The Wall Street Journal.

* China to remove 25 Didi apps from store as crackdown intensifies (Reuters)
* China to order Tencent Music to give up music label exclusivity (Reuters)

China's market regulator said Saturday it would block on antitrust grounds Tencent's plan to merge the country's top two videogame streaming sites, Huya and DouYu. Tencent is Huya's biggest shareholder with 36.9% and owns over a third of DouYu. Both firms are listed in the U.S. and are worth a combined $5.3 billion in market value.

President Joe Biden is slated to discuss an array of pressing issues with German Chancellor Angela Merkel this week, in what may be her last trip to Washington after nearly 16 years at the helm of Europe's largest economy. The two leaders are expected to share their concerns about Afghanistan, cyberattacks and the Covid pandemic. (CNBC)

* Biden backs Trump rejection of China’s South China Sea claim (AP)

Thousands of Cubans marched on Havana's Malecon promenade and elsewhere on the island Sunday to protest food shortages and high prices amid the coronavirus crisis, in one of biggest anti-government demonstrations in memory. Many young people took part in the afternoon protest in the capital (AP)

* Florida resident detained as latest suspect in Haiti killing (AP)

STOCKS TO WATCH

Cheesecake Factory (CAKE) stock climbed more than 1% in premarket trading after Raymond James upgraded the shares to outperform from market perform. The Wall Street firm said the market is underestimating the comeback for full-service restaurants. Cheesecake Factory shares have fallen about 8% in the past month.

Nordstrom (JWN) shares of the department store dipped slightly after the company said Sunday it has acquired a minority stake in four apparel brands owned by the online U.K. fashion house Asos. The brands, including Topshop, Topman and Miss Selfridge, target younger consumers in their 20s. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

United AirlinesCarnival —Shares tied to the economic reopening, including United Airlines (UAL) and Carnival (CCL) were slightly weaker in premarket Monday. United fell more than 1% after losing 2.3% month to date. Boeing and Delta Air Lines both traded about 1% lower. Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean all fell over 1%.

WATERCOOLER

Europe's soccer champions returned home at dawn Monday to the ecstatic cheers of Italians who spent the better part of the night honking horns, setting off fireworks and violating all sorts of coronavirus precautions to celebrate their team's 3-2 penalty shootout win over host England at Wembley Stadium. (AP)