Dow set to rise after rally on improving Trump health, hopes for stimulus


BY THE NUMBERS

Dow futures pointed to a higher Tuesday open after Wall Street soared following President Donald Trump‘s afternoon tweet that he was leaving Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Monday evening. He did indeed return to the White House to continue his Covid-19 treatment and recovery, easing concerns about more political uncertainty ahead of Election Day. (CNBC)

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Investors also bought stocks on hopes that Capitol Hill can come through with an additional coronavirus stimulus package. On Monday, the Dow closed up 465 points or 1.7%, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq rose 1.8% and 2.3%, respectively. Later Tuesday morning, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell speaks at the annual meeting of the National Association for Business Economics at 10 a.m. ET. (CNBC)

On today’s economic calendar, the Commerce Department is out with August trade balance figures at 8:30 a.m. ET, with economists calling for a deficit of $66.2 billion compared with July’s $63.6 billion. The Labor Department issues its August Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey. The so-called JOLTS is expected to show 6.5 million job openings compared to 6.6. million openings in July. (CNBC)

Shares of Vir Biotechnology (VIR) soared 15% in Tuesday’s premarket after Vir and partner GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced an expansion of their trial of an experimental antibody to treat Covid-19 after initial use by a group of volunteers did not raise any safety concerns. Shares of GlaxoSmithKline fell in the premarket after Monday’s rise. (Reuters)

IN THE NEWS TODAY

Trump is expected on Tuesday to receive his last of a five-day course of Gilead Sciences’ antiviral drug remdesivir. The president’s physicians said Monday that Trump remains contagious and won’t be fully “out of the woods” for another week. Trump returned to a White House where the spread of coronavirus widened again Monday. (CNBC)

* Trump press secretary Kayleigh McEnany and two deputies test positive for coronavirus (CNBC)

The president walked out of Walter Reed to Marine One for the short flight to the White House on Monday evening. He then walked to the White House and up the stairs to the Truman Balcony for photos without a mask. Tweeting on Monday before leaving the hospital, Trump wrote, “Don’t be afraid of Covid” and “Don’t let it dominate your life.” (AP)

Joe Biden has been stepping up his in-person campaign events, making a second trip to Florida in a little over two weeks. During a Monday evening NBC News town hall in Miami, Biden said the president, through his general refusal to wear masks and disregard for social distancing, bears responsibility for becoming infected with Covid-19. (CNBC)

Biden is leading Trump by 8.5 percentage points in the RealClear Politics average of national polls. Biden is also ahead in several swing state surveys, including CNBC’s latest States of Play poll conducted over the weekend. In six major battleground states, 50% of likely voters said they favored Biden. Forty-five percent of respondents favored Trump. (CNBC)

As Trump recovers from coronavirus, Vice President Mike Pence is taking a lead role in campaigning with 28 days until the Nov. 3 election. On Monday, Pence started a swing through key states to bolster the president’s chance for reelection. He will be in Utah on Wednesday for the first and only vice presidential debate against Biden running mate Sen. Kamala Harris. (CNBC)

Because of coronavirus concerns, a Plexiglas barrier will separate Pence and Harris on stage. The chairs for Pence and Harris would be positioned slightly more than 12 feet away from one another. Pence spokeswoman Katie Miller, who herself was diagnosed with Covid-19 in May, told NBC News, “If Sen. Harris wants to use a fortress around herself, have at it.” (CNBC)

Democratic New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has rejected New York City’s plan to shut down nonessential businesses again in some neighborhoods to mitigate coronavirus spikes. The abrupt announcement caused confusion over the official response to the Covid-19 surge in some areas and threatened to deepen tensions with the city’s mayor. (NY Times)

* Cuomo defends not wearing a mask at indoor new conference (AP)

The White House has blocked new Food and Drug Administration guidelines on bringing potential vaccines for Covid-19 to market, which  would almost certainly have prevented their introduction before the Nov. 3 election. At issue was the FDA’s planned instruction that vaccine developers follow patients enrolled in their trials for at least two months. (AP)

* CDC revises guidance to acknowledge that Covid-19 spreads through airborne transmission (CNBC)

The Supreme Court reinstated a requirement that South Carolina residents voting by mail get a witness to sign their ballots. Democrats sought to have the requirement put on hold because of the pandemic, but Republicans defended it as fraud deterrent. Any ballots cast before the court’s action Monday evening “and received within two days of this order may not be rejected for failing to comply.” (AP)

“The Batman” has been postponed until 2022 after “Dune” was pushed to 2021 and more than 500 Cineworld theaters were closed. “Black Adam” has been removed from Warner Bros. calendar. U.S.-based theater chain stocks cratered on Monday. (CNBC)

STOCKS TO WATCH

European Union regulators have begun a rolling review of the Covid-19 vaccine candidate being developed by Pfizer (PFE) and BioNTech (BNTX). It had launched a similar review of AstraZeneca’s (AZN) vaccine candidate last week.

Southwest Airlines (LUV) is asking its employee unions to agree to pay cuts, in return for not furloughing or laying off employees through 2021. Non-union salaries will be cut by 10% until the beginning of 2022.

Dollar Tree (DLTR) plans to hire more than 25,000 holiday season workers. Many of those jobs will be at the discount retailer’s distribution centers, as online shopping surges due to the pandemic.

Social Capital Hedosophia III (IPOC), the special purpose acquisition company, is taking Medicare Advantage insurance provider Clover Health public through a merger deal valuing Clover at $3.7 billion.

Apple (AAPL) has stopped selling wireless speakers and headphones from other companies ahead of its own product launches, according to a Bloomberg report. Products from Bose, Sonos (SONO) and Logitech (LOGI) are now absent from Apple’s online store.

Alphabet’s (GOOGL) Google unit has rebranded its “G Suite” of business tools as “Google Workspace,” and also announced new pricing tiers and features in its ongoing competition with Microsoft’s (MSFT) Office products.

Cisco Systems (CSCO) was ordered to pay $1.9 billion to Virginia-based cybersecurity firm Centripetal, which had accused Cisco of copying its patents. Cisco was ruled to have infringed 4 of 5 patents, but said it was disappointed with the decision and plans to appeal.

Amgen (AMGN) announced positive results in a phase 2 study of an experimental treatment for non-small cell lung cancer.

Alexion Pharmaceuticals (ALXN) said it would raise its full-year revenue guidance by more than $200 million when it reports quarterly earnings on Oct. 22. It also said it expects to return at least $3 billion to shareholders through a multi-year stock buyback program. Alexion revealed those updates in a news release prior to its virtual Investor Day today.

Alteryx (AYX), an data analytics software company, announced that board member Mark Anderson will succeed company co-founder Dean Stoecker as CEO, effective immediately, with Stoecker remaining as chairman. Alteryx also increased its third-quarter revenue outlook.

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