U.S. stock market futures are setting the table for a second straight day of gains as investors continue to weigh the prospect of an economic recovery over increased tensions between Washington and Beijing, plus stocks to watch today in the Money & Markets Opening Bell.
The Top Story
Unprecedented monetary and fiscal stimulus, the easing of lockdowns and optimism about an eventual coronavirus vaccine have powered a rally, helping the S&P 500 end at its highest level since early March on Tuesday.
The benchmark index, however, closed just short of 3,000 points, a key psychological level, after President Donald Trump said the United States would announce before the end of the week its response to China’s planned national security legislation for Hong Kong.
Travel-related stocks, which were among the worst hit in the sell-off earlier this year, continued to outperform. United Airlines Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: UAL) and American Airlines Group Inc. (Nasdaq: AAL) rose 10% in premarket trading.
Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) was set to announce its proposal for a phased reopening of its Orlando, Florida, theme parks to a local task force. Disney shares gained 2.3%.
Stocks to Watch Today
Tractor Supply Co. (Nasdaq: TSCO) — The farming retailer reported it expects “record-breaking” sales and earnings for the second quarter along with same-store sales growth of 20% to 25%. Shares of Tractor Supply jumped more than 8% in premarket trading.
Domino’s Pizza Inc. (NYSE: DPZ) — Shares of the American pizza chain rose nearly 1% after the company said its U.S. sales were already up 20.9% over the same period a year ago. It did say its international sales remained sluggish.
Allstate Corp. (NYSE: ALL) — The Illinois-based insurance company said it will extend its shelter-in-place rebate program through June as fewer people are driving due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Shares of Allstate were up 1%.
Hedge Funds Going on Hiring Spree
Across the hedge fund industry, there’s been one constant: Big funds are still hiring.
According to a report in Bloomberg, the industry — while shrinking in other areas due to the COVID-19 pandemic — still needs managers, analysts and data scientists.
And they are paying for that talent. In some cases, pay packages are exceeding $20 million and the percentage of profits managers can earn is topping 20%.
In addition to the money, initial payments to talent can include a signing bonus, two-year guarantee and deferred compensation.
Amazon Eyeing Self-Driving Tech Company for Acquisition
Sources told The Wall Street Journal that Amazon.com Inc. (Nasdaq: AMZN) is in advanced talks to buy Zoox Inc. — a self-driving technology company working on developing hardware and software for electric-powered robot taxis.
The deal would reportedly value Zoox at less than the $3.2 billion it raised in a 2018 funding round. Sources said the talks were still ongoing.
Zoox has been working to develop hardware and software to create electric-powered robot taxis that would be hailed by a smartphone app.
Amazon shares were up 0.3% in premarket trading.
Boeing to Start Voluntary Layoffs
In its first phase of dealing with the blow to the global air travel market, Boeing Co. (NYSE: BA) said it is starting voluntary layoffs this week.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Boeing is starting with about 2,500 employees — mainly focused on its Seattle-area commercial airplanes operation. It is the first major reduction in force for Boeing since 2017 when it laid off nearly 1,500 in a cost-cutting move.
Shares of Boeing were up 2.8%.
What We’re Reading
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Collect Dividends From These Stocks to Stay Ahead of Surges in Volatility (Money & Markets)
Here are the companies releasing earnings reports today:
Autodesk Inc. (Nasdaq: ADSK)
Box Inc. (NYSE: BOX)
Plantronics Inc. (NYSE: PLT)
Ralph Lauren Corp. (NYSE: RL)
Workday Inc. (Nasdaq: WDAY)
Check back each morning before the opening bell for stocks to watch today with Opening Bell, here on Money & Markets.