What to watch today: Stocks set to open lower after Trump's positive coronavirus test

U.S. stock futures were pointing to a sharply lower open, following the news that President Donald Trump tested positive for Covid-19. That comes after a generally positive stretch for Wall Street, with the Dow and S&P 500 poised to break four-week losing streaks and the Nasdaq on pace for its second straight positive week.

Dow futures were lower by about 350 points, while S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures also were negative. The Dow on Thursday rose 35 points, or 0.1%, and the benchmark S&P 500 gained 0.5%. Outperforming was the Nasdaq, which rose 1.4%. September was rough and the first monthly loss since March. (CNBC) 

* Treasury yields fall as White House confirms Trump has tested positive for coronavirus (CNBC)

The Labor Department said a lower-than-expected 661,000 nonfarm jobs were created last month. The nation's unemployment rate fell by half a percentage point to 7.9% in September. This was the last monthly jobs report from the government before Election Day on Nov. 3. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones had been expecting a payrolls gain of 800,000 and an unemployment rate of 8.2%. (CNBC)

Also on today's economic calendar is the University of Michigan's final September consumer sentiment index, out at at 10 a.m. ET. August factory orders are also out at 10 a.m. ET. There are no earnings reports set for release either this morning or after today's closing bell. 


Trump said in a tweet just before 1 a.m. ET that he and first lady Melania Trump both tested positive for the coronavirus. It came just hours after the president indicated they would begin quarantining following close contact with advisor Hope Hicks, who tested positive for Covid-19 and had traveled to Ohio for Tuesday's presidential debate. Trump and the first lady are "both well" at the moment, according to the White House physician. Trump's positive test comes a little over a month before the Nov. 3 presidential election. (CNBC) 

* Trump has the coronavirus, here's what happens next (CNBC) 
* Read the full letter from the White House physician on President Trump's diagnosis (CNBC) 

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson wished the Trumps "a speedy recovery from coronavirus" in a tweet Friday. In April, Johnson was hospitalized for a week after experiencing "persistent" symptoms of Covid-19. Trump, who has faced scrutiny for his response to the pandemic, becomes the most powerful figure in the world to test positive for the virus. In addition to Johnson, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was infected and survived. (AP & CNBC) 

* Shock, sympathy, criticism: World reacts to Trump infection (AP) 
* 'This was avoidable': Trump falls victim to his own false messaging on coronavirus (NBC News) 

Trump remains "well," according to the White House physician, but if necessary, Trump could name Vice President Mike Pence acting president while still remaining in office. Based on a section of the 25th Amendment, Trump, 74, would take his powers back again by declaring he is able to perform them (Reuters) 

* Pence and second lady test negative for coronavirus following Trumps' positive diagnosis (CNBC) 

The House approved a $2.2 trillion Democratic stimulus plan, but the bill is not likely to get through the Republican-led Senate. The House's narrow passage of the package Thursday, by a vote of 214-207, comes as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin try to negotiate a bipartisan relief package. The pair were unable to come to agreement Thursday, but indicated talks will continue as they try to find compromise on issues such as state and local government aid. (CNBC) 

The House antitrust subcommittee's investigation into some of the largest technology companies in the world, Amazon (AMZN), Apple (AAPL), Facebook (FB) and Alphabet (GOOGL), is nearing its end, setting up the prospect of legislative proposals that could significantly change antitrust enforcement in the United States. The subcommittee, led by Rep. David Cicilline, D-R.I., held its seventh and final hearing Thursday. (CNBC) 

For the first time, Amazon released comprehensive data on how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted its employees. The e-commerce giant said 19,816 workers, or 1.44% of the total, were infected by the coronavirus this year. The count is across the roughly 1.37 million front-line employees at Amazon and Whole Foods in the U.S. Amazon had faced pressured from labor groups and other regulators had called on the company to disclose the figures. (CNBC) 

Walmart (WMT) is going to sell its British supermarket chain, Asda, to a group of investors in a deal that values the company at $8.8 billion. The Arkansas-based retail giant will retain a minority stake and a board seat. A little more than a year ago U.K. regulators opposed a deal from another supermarket chain to acquire Asda. (AP) 


Pool Corp. (POOL) will be replacing E-Trade Financial (ETFC) in the S&P 500, after the acquisition of E-Trade by Morgan Stanley (MS) is completed. Pool is the world's largest wholesaler of swimming pools and related products.

Nelson Peltz's Trian Asset Management has acquired stakes in investment firms Janus Henderson (JHG) and Invesco (IVZ), according to multiple reports which say Trian has accumulated 9.9% stakes in both companies. Trian is said to be aiming for consolidation in the asset management industry and building another major player.

Activision Blizzard (ATVI) is delaying the release of "World of Warcraft: Shadowlands" until later this year. The videogame publisher said the delay is pandemic-related, with the shift of employees to home-based work slowing the development process.

Southwest Airlines (LUV) CEO Gary Kelly told workers in a video message that layoffs could be looming if no further aid to the airline industry is forthcoming from lawmakers.

Academy Sports And Outdoors (ASO) will begin trading today on the Nasdaq after pricing its initial public offering at $13 per share, below the target range of $15-$17 per share. The sporting goods retailer is backed by private equity firm KKR (KKR).

Twilio (TWLO) raised its forecast for the quarter that ended Sept. 30, with the cloud services company benefiting from the increase in remote working and education. Twilio is scheduled to release its earnings report for the quarter on Nov. 4.

Marathon Oil (MRO) reinstated its quarterly dividend, after suspending it in May in the wake of falling crude oil prices. The dividend will be 3 cents per share, payable on Dec. 10 to shareholders of record as of Nov. 18.

Universal Health Services (UHS) said its computer network is being restored after a malware attack shut down the hospital operator's systems earlier this week. The company has not commented on reports that its systems were attacked by ransomware.

Source: Read Full Article