What to watch today: Wall Street set to rise after more S&P 500 and Nasdaq records

What to watch today: Wall Street set to rise after more S&P 500 and Nasdaq records

September 2, 2020

U.S. stock futures were powering higher Wednesday after the S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed at record highs. The Dow Jones Industrial Average's advance brought it back to about 3% from its Feb. 12 record high close and again in the green for 2020. Apple and Walmart were big winners, and both are up again in Wednesday's premarket. For the year, as of Tuesday's close, the Nasdaq was up 33% and the S&P 500 was up 9%. (CNBC)

Private payroll growth came in well below expectations for August, according to a report Wednesday from ADP, whose job tallies have differed widely from government data during the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. companies added 428,000 jobs in August. ADP said last month that July private-sector jobs grew only 212,000, a fraction of what was expected. Two days later, the government said nonfarm payrolls in July increased by nearly 1.8 million. (CNBC)

* Job growth expected to slow sharply over the next decade, Labor Department says (CNBC)
* Mortgage demand from homebuyers is now 28% higher than last year (CNBC)
* Factory orders for July out at 10 a.m. ET and Fed's Beige Book issued at 2 p.m. ET (CNBC)

CNBC PRO subscribers are invited to join a live discussion today with Walter Price of Allianz, whose funds have been among the top performers in the tech space over the long term. RSVP here.

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Shares of DraftKings (DKNG) jumped 16% in premarket trading after the company said basketball great Michael Jordan is joining the betting company as a special advisor to the board of directors. Jordan will have an equity interest in the company as part of the deal. (CNBC)

* Detroit Pistons, Flagstar Bank will let fans earn interest on season ticket packages (CNBC)

AMC Entertainment shares surged 13% in premarket trading after the theater chain said it would open approximately 140 additional movie houses by Friday, bringing the total to about 70% of its locations. Those locations include its first theaters in California to reopen since the Covid-19 pandemic led to widespread closures. (CNBC)

Shares of Macy's rose 5% after the embattled retailer saw digital sales during the pandemic surge 53% in the second quarter. Macy's reported a smaller-than-expected loss of 81 cents per share on revenue of  $3.56 billion, which also beat estimates. With some malls still on coronavirus lockdown during the quarter ended Aug. 1, Macy's same-store sales tumbled 35.1%. (CNBC)

It's unclear whether TikTok's algorithms for serving up videos will be part of the sale of its U.S. operations, according to The Wall Street Journal. ByteDance, the Beijing-based owner of TikTok, is trying to get clarity on the Chinese government's newly amended rules on exporting technology. ByteDance is expected to choose between a combined bid from Microsoft and Walmart and an offer from Oracle.

One day after the lowest new infections in more than two months of around 34,000, Tuesday's new cases were nearly 10,000 higher at over 43,000. Covid deaths on Tuesday spiked above 1,000 after four days below that level. While new cases are declining in summer hot spots in California, Texas, Arizona and Florida, infections are starting to increase in the Midwest. (JHU data)

* Top U.S. health officials say containing coronavirus this fall starts with Labor Day (CNBC)
* New York City delays start of school to ready for in-person classes (NY Times)
* White House moves to halt evictions as fears of coronavirus-fueled housing crisis grow (CNBC)

A panel of experts convened by the National Institutes of Health said there's "insufficient data" to show convalescent plasma works against the coronavirus, refuting claims made by Trump and the head of the Food and Drug Administration  The FDA granted the treatment emergency authorization on Aug. 23. (CNBC)

* Federal health advisors predict four coronavirus vaccine trials backed by U.S. could fail (CNBC)
* Dr. Anthony Fauci debunks theories of low CDC coronavirus death toll (CNBC)

Health experts are wary about the potential for a new wave of coronavirus infections when the seasons change in the Northern Hemisphere. "Winter is coming," Catherine Smallwood, senior emergency officer at WHO Europe, reflecting on the "worrying trend" of increased infections across the region. (CNBC)

* China will gradually resume direct international flights to Beijing (Nikkei Asian Review)

Continuing to hit law-and-order as a pillar of his reelection campaign, Trump blamed "domestic terror" for unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, where protests against racial injustice erupted after the Aug. 23 shooting by a White police officer of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man. In a visit to Kenosha on Tuesday, the president, without mentioning Blake, called violent demonstrations "anti-American." (AP)

* Trump spins baseless tale of ‘thugs’ flying to protests (AP)

Sen. Edward Markey of Massachusetts defeated Rep. Joe Kennedy III in Tuesday's hard-fought Democratic primary, harnessing support from progressive leaders to overcome a challenge from a younger rival who is a member of America's most famous political family. (AP)

The Russian group that interfered in the 2016 presidential election is at it again, using a network of fake accounts and a website set up to look like a left-wing news site, according to Facebook (FB) and Twitter (TWTR). The disinformation campaign by the Kremlin-backed group is the first public evidence that the agency is trying to repeat its efforts from four years ago. (NY Times)

Melania Trump regularly used a private Trump Organization email account, an email from a MelaniaTrump.com domain, iMessage and the encrypted messaging app, Signal, while in the White House, according to her former senior adviser and close friend Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, who says she corresponded multiple times a day with the first lady. (Washington Post)

* House Speaker Nancy Pelosi takes heat over visit to California hair salon (AP)

General Motors (GM) CEO Mary Barra is scheduled to meet today with White House advisor Ivanka Trump at the automaker's design and tech center in suburban Detroit. Barra will give the president's daughter a tour of GM's Technical Learning University, which recently completed a $2 million upgrade for employee training, (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

H&R Block (HRB) reported quarterly profit of 55 cents per share, 5 cents a share above estimates. Revenue was slightly below Wall Street forecasts. Block's results benefited from the three-month extension to tax filing season, with sales improvement for both assisted tax preparation and do-it-yourself products.

Shoe Carnival (SCVL) reported better-than-expected earnings, but both revenue and comparable-store sales fell below Wall Street forecasts. Like many other retailers, Shoe Carnival is not currently offering forward guidance due to economic uncertainties surrounding the pandemic.

Guess (GES) lost a penny per share for its latest quarter, smaller than the 58 cents a share loss that Wall Street analysts were anticipating. Revenue was also better than expected, and Guess announced the resumption of its dividend.

Exxon Mobil (XOM)is weighing possible worldwide job cuts, according to a company representative who spoke to Reuters. Exxon said it has evaluations underway on a country by country basis, and may "right-size" its business.

Visa's (V) U.S. payment volume rose 7% in August compared to a year ago, according to a Securities and Exchange Commission filing.

Auto stocks such as Ford (F) and GM could benefit after research firm Autodata reported that U.S. sales rose above the 15 million mark in August for the first time since February.

Peloton (PTON) was named a "top pick" at J.P. Morgan Securities, even with the shares having already tripled year-to-date, and increased its price target to a Street-high $105 per share. The firm notes strong demand for Peloton's bicycles, but also points out that the company's biggest challenge is keeping up with that demand.

WATERCOOLER

Hollywood's got a brand new billionaire, according to Forbes. The magazine, known for keeping track of celebrities' net worth, announced on Tuesday that longtime filmmaker Tyler Perry, 50, is officially a billionaire, joining ranks of Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. (USA Today)

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