Stock market index futures ticked up on Friday as a record increase in coronavirus cases raised fears of another hit to corporate America as states continue to delay the easing of business restrictions, plus stocks to watch today in the Money & Markets Opening Bell.
The Top Story
More than three-quarters of states in the U.S. have reported an increase in coronavirus cases in the last two weeks and the country notched the largest single-day increase in new infections for the second day in a row on Thursday.
Several states have started to roll back plans on reopening, but market experts suggest a lockdown similar to February and March is unlikely.
Wall Street will shift its attention to the next quarterly earnings season as big banks open the reporting next week. Overall profits from S&P 500 companies are expected to fall the most since the financial crisis, according to data from Refinitiv.
As of 9:20 a.m., Dow Jones futures were up by 0.13%. S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures moved up 0.08%.
Stocks to Watch Today
WD-40 Co. (Nasdaq: WDFC) — The household chemical producer reported a 14% decline in quarterly sales and a drop in earnings per share for its last quarter. Earnings were $1.06 per share compared to $1.30 in the same quarter a year ago. Shares of WD-40 were off by 4.2%.
United Airlines Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: UAL) — Shares of the airline carrier slipped 3.5% after the company said it plans to book a $300 million charge linked to layoffs and may furlough up to half of its entire workforce.
PriceSmart Inc. (Nasdaq: PSMT) — The membership warehouse operator in South America and the Caribbean reported upbeat earnings and revenue for its third quarter while its net sales declined 3.6%. Shares of PriceSmart were up 5.4% in premarket trading.
Biggest US Banks Bracing for Worst Quarter Since Financial Crisis
The last time U.S. banks reported earnings, we were just a few weeks into a global pandemic. Now, those banks are about to share how three months of COVID-19 impacted the industry.
Banks will kick off the next round of quarterly earnings next week. Those earnings reports are expected to show that loan losses grew, consumer spending dropped and only gains in the stock market helped banks get through it.
According to Bloomberg, many banks set aside provisions in the second three months of the year to help get through it, but the combined earnings for the four biggest banks are expected to be the lowest in more than a decade.
German Biotech Company Says COVID-19 Vaccine Ready By End of Year
The company partnering with Pfizer Inc. ((NYSE: PFE) to develop a coronavirus vaccine said it will be ready for regulatory approval by the end of the year.
Dr. Ugur Sahin, CEO and co-founder of BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX) told The Wall Street Journal that more than 100 million doses could be produced, even before approval and 1 billion by the end of 2021.
BioNTech was founded in 2008 as a cancer treatment biotech company, but now is one of 17 companies globally that have started human trials on a COVID-19 vaccine.
Mortgage Bailouts Decline for the Second Week
The number of homeowners using government or private sector mortgage bailout plans declined for the second straight week as initial borrowers saw their plans expire.
According to CNBC, the volume of loans in active forbearance — where borrowers can delay their payments — dropped by 435,000 from the previous week. But nearly 4.1 million loans were in forbearance, representing 7.8% of all active mortgages.
About 6% of mortgages backed by Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae and 11.6% of all FHA/VA loans are in forbearance plans.
What We’re Reading
Energy Efficiency Boom: 1 Company You Must Buy Now (Money & Markets)
Walmart Is About to Give Amazon Prime a Run for its Money (CNN Business)
Inflation Isn’t Deal. It’s Hiding Behind the Fed (Money & Markets)
Here are the companies releasing earnings reports today:
Greenbrier Companies Inc. (NYSE: GBX)
SemiLEDs Corp. (Nasdaq: LEDS)
Voxx International Corp. (Nasdaq: VOXX)
Check back each morning before the opening bell for stocks to watch today with Opening Bell, here on Money & Markets.