Stock market futures are aimed higher after U.S. President Donald Trump pointed to a second phase of the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, plus stocks to watch today in the Money & Markets Opening Bell.
The Top Story
Investors maintained a hopeful tone, pushing futures higher as more countries and U.S. states start to relax their coronavirus lockdowns.
On Tuesday, Trump said he was moving to a second phase of the nation’s response to the pandemic, stating there would be more illness and death from the pandemic, but it’s a cost he’s willing to pay to jumpstart the U.S. economy.
After plunging to 2016-lows in March as the sweeping lockdown measures crushed supply chains and consumer demand, the benchmark S&P 500 rebounded strongly in April on unprecedented stimulus and signs the outbreak was peaking.
But with data still foreshadowing a severe economic slump and millions of Americans out of work, analysts have warned of another selloff, particularly if reopening economies sparks another wave of infections.
The ADP National Employment Report filed Wednesday showed U.S. private payrolls dropped by 20.2 million in April, which marks the worst loss of jobs in the report’s history. The Department of Labor’s more comprehensive nonfarm payrolls data is due Friday.
Stocks to Watch Today
CVS Health Corp. (NYSE: CVS) — The health care company crushed Wall Street earnings estimates by $0.28 per share as revenues jumped 8.3% in the last quarter. The company also reaffirmed its full-year profit guidance. Shares of CVS were up 3.7% in premarket trading.
Activision Blizzard Inc. (Nasdaq: ATVI) — Shares of the video game holding company were up 6% after it reported nearly doubling its earnings per share compared to the same quarter a year ago. Its revenues were down slightly, but still better than analyst projections.
Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) — The entertainment company reported a $1.4 billion hit to second-quarter profits and a suspension of its semiannual dividend as the coronavirus lockdown forced its parks division to close. Shares of Disney were down 2%.
ICE Working With Companies to ID Fake COVID-19 Gear
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement is working with several U.S. companies to weed out counterfeit masks, COVID-19 tests and other related equipment entering the country.
According to The Wall Street Journal, ICE and companies like 3M Co. (NYSE: MMM), Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) and Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) are identifying suspicious shipments and taking down suspect online listings for equipment.
ICE said it has already identified more than 19,000 suspect COVID-19-related domain names and are working with companies to take them down.
Chinese Chip Giant Eyes Multibillion-Dollar Stock Sale
Less than a year ago, Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corp. (OTC: SMICY) was delisted from the New York Stock Exchange after trading there for 15 years.
Now, the Chinese chip manufacturer is planning to sell 1.69 billion new shares — a quarter of the company — in a listing on the Shanghai Science and Technology Innovation Board, which started in 2019, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Estimates are that SMIC could raise between $2.4 billion and $3 billion with the stock sale.
Lower Interest Rates Helping Housing Market
The number of mortgage applications jumped 0.1% last week compared to the previous week, according to data from the Mortgage Bankers Association.
It’s the third straight week of increases, thanks to a 7% jump in new home purchases. The purchase volume is still 19% lower annually, but it was down 35% three weeks ago.
What We’re Reading
The Real Estate Market Is Slowly Being Killed Off By Millennials (Money & Markets)
Airbnb Is Laying Off 25% Of its Employees (CNN Business)
GAN Ltd. Soars in Trading Debut — But Should You Buy? (Money & Markets)
Here are the companies releasing earnings reports today:
American Water Works Co. Inc. (NYSE: AWK)
Apache Corp. (NYSE: APA)
CVS Health Corp. (NYSE: CVS)
Equinix Inc. (Nasdaq: EQIX)
T-Mobile US Inc. (Nasdaq: TMUS)
Check back each morning before the opening bell for stocks to watch today with Opening Bell, here on Money & Markets.