Market Brief: July 1, 2020

A daily summary of news, analysis and data shaping the market.
Market Brief
Wednesday, July 1, 2020
Nasdaq Notches Record. The Nasdaq Composite on Wednesday closed at a record high to kick off July, but the Dow industrials lagged behind. Improving data on employment and the manufacturing sector buttressed markets in the first trading day of the month even though about a dozen American states have paused or halted plans to allow more businesses to reopen. The Nasdaq ended up 1% at around 10,155, finishing handily above its last record close on June 23 as gains in electric-vehicle maker Tesla, Netflix, and Facebook helped to propel the technology-laden benchmark. The S&P 500 index finished up 0.5% at 3116, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 0.3%, pressured lower by declines in components Boeing and Exxon Mobil. Early in the session, stocks got a boost from another Dow component, Pfizer, which reported positive results from its clinical trial for a
Covid-19 vaccine candidate. An upbeat report on manufacturing activity from the Institute for Supply Management and a private-sector report from ADP also helped to stoke the buying mood on Wall Street, ahead of a highly anticipated nonfarm-payrolls report due on Thursday.
DJIA 25,734.97 -77.91
S&P 500 3,115.86 15.57
NASDAQ 10,154.63 95.86
US 10-Year Note 0.68 0.02
Dollar Index 97.14 -0.25
Crude Oil 39.75 0.48
Gold 1,780.10 -20.40
Global Dow 2,827.82 28.76
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2.4 Million Jobs Were Added in June, ADP Report Says, Led by Small Businesses
U.S. businesses hired 2.4 million workers in June, according to private payroll processor ADP, a lower-than-expected result that shows it is going to take a while for companies to hire the tens of millions of workers displaced by the coronavirus pandemic. Economists polled by FactSet predicted an increase of 3 million jobs during the month.

ADP said Wednesday that hiring in June followed a massive upside revision for May, to 3.1 million jobs added from an originally reported 2.8 million jobs lost. The revision makes sense when you consider the difficulties in surveying closed businesses and the fact that ADP’s model incorporates the prior month’s payroll change, which is then backfitted to actual numbers. For May, the Labor Department reported an increase in May nonfarm payrolls of about 2.5 million.

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Mortgage Applications Fall for the Second Week in a Row
The volume of mortgage applications to purchase a home dropped for the second week in a row. That could potentially signal waning demand in the housing market, says the trade group that collects the data.

Purchase applications for the week ending June 26 dipped 1% from the week earlier on a seasonally adjusted basis and 2% on an unadjusted basis, the Mortgage Bankers Association said in a Wednesday data release. Despite the week-over-week drops, the index is still 15% higher than it was during the same period one year ago, the release said.

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Pfizer Offers Hope, and Details, on Potential Coronavirus Vaccine
Promising and detailed new data from the drug giant Pfizer and its German biotech partner BioNTech on an experimental Covid-19 vaccine lifted both stocks and bumped the S&P 500 into the green.

The companies said that all 24 patients who received lower doses of the vaccine developed levels of neutralizing antibodies after 28 days that were roughly two times higher than those found in patients who have recovered from Covid-19 infections.

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New FDA Guidance May Not Allow Covid-19 Vaccine This Year, Analyst Says
When will a Covid-19 vaccine be ready? It’s the most important question in the fight against the pandemic, and while companies have offered a range of answers, America’s drug regulator has been mostly silent until now.

That changed Monday, when the Food and Drug Administration issued a 24-page guidance document for Covid-19 vaccine developers. The document doesn’t spell out a timeline, but one analyst says that its guidelines point firmly toward no vaccine being made available until next year.

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Beyond Meat Is Doubling Down on China
Beyond Meat on Tuesday announced an agreement to sell its plant-based burgers in some Alibaba-operated retail stores in China. Starting this weekend, the burgers will be sold in 50 Freshippo stores in Shanghai. This will be the first time Beyond Meat products are sold in supermarkets in China.

Beyond Meat previously announced agreements to offer Beyond Burgers via Starbucks, KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell outlets in China. And the company’s shares recently spiked on disclosure of a distribution deal for China with Sinodis, a wholesale food distributor that is part of the French dairy maker and distributor Savencia.

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FedEx Earnings Smash Wall Street’s Estimates
Logistics giant FedEx late Tuesday reported a much stronger-than-expected fiscal fourth quarter. The results show that it is navigating well amid coronavirus, even as the pandemic has shifted business to costlier residential shipping routes.

FedEx said it earned $2.53 a share on revenue of $17.36 billion. Analysts were looking for earnings of $1.57 a share on revenue of $16.54 billion. “Virtually all revenue and expense line items were affected by the Covid-19 pandemic during the quarter,” FedEx said in a statement, noting that business closures weighed on orders, although that was somewhat offset by a surge in deliveries to residential areas.

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Tesla Just Hit a New Milestone
Tesla is now the most valuable car company on earth.

Tesla stock rose almost 4% in Wednesday trading, giving the electric vehicle pioneer a market value of about $208 billion. That eclipses the Toyota Motor market value of roughly $202 billion. Toyota shares were down nearly 1% in overseas trading. Year to date, Toyota stock is down about 12%. Tesla, on the other hand, has soared more than 168%. And over the past month, Tesla shares have climbed more than 20%. Rising second-quarter delivery estimates catalyzed the recent Tesla stock move.

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Macy’s Stock Falls After Retailer Meets Earnings Expectations. Here’s Why.
Macy’s shares fell in midday trading Wednesday, after the department-store operator’s first-quarter earnings report was in line with its previous guidance.

In a call with investors discussing the quarterly results, executives discussed their outlook for sales during this period where the U.S. is halting efforts to reopen. Sales slowed sharply in Texas in mid-June, Macy’s said, when state officials warned about rising numbers of coronavirus infections during the state’s reopening. And while digital sales picked up in response, the increase hasn’t made up for the initial 15-percentage-point slowdown.

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Constellation Brands Reports Better-Than-Expected Earnings
Constellation Brands stock jumped on Wednesday after the company reported better-than-expected adjusted earnings. And, no, the coronavirus virus didn’t scare away Corona beer sales.

The Corona importer reported a net loss of 94 cents a share. Comparable earnings—which excludes $625.6 million in adjustments for things like losses from unconsolidated investments—clocked in at $2.30 per share, ahead of consensus estimates calling for $2 per share.

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Supreme Court Rules the President Can Fire the Consumer Watchdog Head
The last financial crisis convinced Congress to create a powerful consumer-protection agency whose signature feature was independence. In the midst of a new crisis, that agency has lost some of its autonomy.

On Monday, the Supreme Court made it easier for the president to fire the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which Congress established as part of the Dodd-Frank Act in response to the 2008-09 financial crisis. In a 5-4 decision, the court found that a Dodd-Frank provision protecting the CFPB director from removal without cause—such as neglect of duty or malfeasance in office—was unconstitutional.

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