BY THE NUMBERS
U.S. stock futures were mixed Friday, a day after modest gains pushed the S&P 500 to another closing record and the Dow Jones Industrial Average within 24 points from Monday's record close. The Nasdaq was the real winner Thursday, logging a 1% gain on strength in tech names. The Nasdaq was less than 2% from its February record close. (CNBC)
* Today's biggest analyst calls of the day: Apple, GE, Western Digital, Honeywell, JPMorgan (CNBC Pro)
Lending support to stocks, Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Thursday called the U.S. economic recovery from the Covid pandemic "uneven" and said temporarily higher prices won't lead to worrisome inflation. Those comments offered investors a reassurance that ultra-accommodative Covid-era monetary policies won't change soon. (CNBC)
The Labor Department this morning reported that producer prices in March rose 1%, with an ex-food and energy core inflation rate gain of 0.5%. Both were stronger than expected. A website outage at the Labor Department delayed the normal 8:30 a.m. ET by about 25 minutes. (CNBC)
The 10-year Treasury yield ticked higher Friday, but remained below 1.7% and March's run of 14-month highs. The bond market has been at odds with the Fed this year, as traders push yields up on the belief that stronger economic growth and inflation will force central bankers to hike near-zero short-term interest rates and taper massive asset purchases sooner than forecast. (CNBC)
Feeling out of the loop? We'll catch you up on the Chicago news you need to know. Sign up for the weekly Chicago Catch-Up newsletter here.
IN THE NEWS TODAY
U.S. coronavirus cases are creeping higher. Even with the U.S. vaccinating about 3 million people per day and nearly 20% of the American population fully inoculated, new daily Covid cases and deaths were still, respectively, averaging over 66,000 and nearly 1,000. (JHU & CDC)
In a fast-deteriorating situation in Brazil, that country this week became just the third, after the U.S. and Peru, to report a 24-hour tally of Covid deaths that exceeded 4,000. In the state of Rio de Janeiro, emergency services are under their biggest strain since the pandemic began. (AP)
Florida Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis announced Thursday the state will file a lawsuit against the CDC, demanding cruise ships be allowed to resume U.S. sailings immediately. Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain said he would like the cruise industry to be "treated in a very similar way to the airlines," which have been allowed to fly. (CNBC)
* Wynn Resorts CEO says 60% of employees have been vaccinated (CNBC)
* Caesars CEO says business convention outlook for Las Vegas looks 'extremely strong' (CNBC)
Southwest Airlines (LUV) is recalling more than 2,700 flight attendants from leaves of absence, in anticipation of a rebound in summer travel demand. That follows the recall of more than 200 pilots by the airline last week. (Reuters)
It's been more than a year since Disney's (DIS) two California theme parks were forced to shutter due to the coronavirus pandemic. However, the company's theme park division hasn't been standing idly by waiting to reopen. Here's what to expect when Disneyland and California Adventure reopen on April 30. (CNBC)
* Avengers Campus will open at Disneyland on June 4 (CNBC)
With about half the ballots counted, Amazon held a commanding lead in the historic U.S. worker vote on whether to unionize at one of the e-commerce giant's Alabama warehouses. Counting will resume Friday. There have been hundreds of contested ballots, most of which were challenged by Amazon. Roughly 55% of the eligible workers voted. (CNBC)
* Amazon's aggressive PR campaign ahead of union vote shows how worried it is, labor and antitrust experts say (CNBC)
Levi Strauss (LEVI) reported quarterly profit of 34 cents per share. Revenue also came in above Wall Street forecasts, with help from a 41% rise in digital sales. The apparel maker raised its revenue forecast for the first half of this year, betting on a rebound in-store traffic as vaccines roll out. The company's stock jumped 5.7% in premarket trading.
* Levi Strauss wants to capitalize on commercial vacancies, CEO says (CNBC)
* Skinny jeans are out and wide-leg denim is in vogue, Levi's CEO says (CNBC)
Boeing (BA) has asked 16 of its customers to address a potential production issue related to an electrical power system in certain 737 Max jets prior to further operations. The possible problem does not appear to be related to the wider safety grounding of the fleet, which was lifted in November. (Reuters)
* GM, Ford cut production at several North American plants due to chip shortage (CNBC)
Dick's Sporting Goods (DKS) has opened the biggest store it's ever built, called House of Sport. The more than 100,000-square-foot space is at the Eastview Mall in Victor, New York. It includes an indoor rock climbing wall, golf driving bays and a putting green. There's also a health-and-wellness shop. Outside, it has a track and turf field. (CNBC)
* McDonald's is closing hundreds of its in-store Walmart restaurants (WSJ)
Prince Philip, the Greece-born royal who as the husband of Queen Elizabeth II was the longest-serving consort to a British sovereign, died Friday. He was 99. The Duke of Edinburgh's death came 12 days before Queen Elizabeth's 95th birthday on April 21. (CNBC)
* Prince William urges investment in nature to protect planet and combat climate change (CNBC)
STOCKS TO WATCH
Chipotle Mexican Grill (CMG) shares rose in Friday's premarket after rising for the past six sessions in a row. The stock was up 1.6% yesterday after Wedbush analyst Nick Setyan reiterated an "outperform" rating on data indicating that same-restaurant sales growth is near the high end of the company's forecast. Chipotle shares have nearly doubled over the past 12 months.
AT&T (T) said it would record a non-cash gain of $2.8 billion for the first quarter related to its pension plan, as distributions exceed a threshold that would have required it to re-measure its pension obligations.
WD-40 (WDFC) fell 8 cents a share short of estimates, with quarterly earnings of $1.24 per share. The lubricant maker's revenue also came in below analysts' projections. The company said supply chain issues hurt its ability to meet customer demand, and its stock tumbled 7.9% in the premarket.
FuboTV (FUBO) won the streaming rights to the Qatar World Cup 2022 qualifying matches involving the 10 teams in the South American Football Confederation. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The stock surged 6.2% in the premarket.
Bridgetown Holdings (BTWN), a SPAC backed by billionaire investors Peter Thiel and Richard Li, is in advanced talks to take Indonesia-based travel services company Traveloka public, according to people familiar with the matter who spoke to Bloomberg. Bridgetown shares added 3.5% in premarket trading.
Okta (OKTA) shares rose 2.5% in premarket trading after a 7.2% gain Thursday. That followed a meeting with analysts at which the maker of identity management software reiterated its guidance for the year and introduced two new products that could expand its addressable market.
PriceSmart (PSMT) reported higher quarterly profit and sales compared to a year ago, though the discount retailer's results were below estimates from the few analysts that cover the company. PriceSmart said the pandemic continues to weigh on its business in certain markets.
China regulators are set to clear the purchase of the country's third-largest search engine by tech giant Sogou (SOGO) Tencent Holdings, according to people with knowledge of the matter who spoke to Reuters. Tencent is planning to pay $3.5 billion for the 60% of Sogou that it does not already own. Sogou shares jumped 6.2% in premarket action.
Nike (NKE) said a Brooklyn company that made "Satan Shoes" in collaboration with the rapper Lil Nas X agreed to voluntarily recall the shoes, which sold for $1,018 per pair, as part of a legal settlement with the athletics giant. (Reuters)