Market Brief: June 17, 2020

A daily summary of news, analysis and data shaping the market.
Market Brief
Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Pressing Pause. U.S. stocks turned lower in the final hour of trading Wednesday, ending a three-day winning streak for the Dow. The S&P 500 fell 0.4% to 3113. The Dow Jones Industrial Average shed 170 points, or 0.7%, to about 26,120. The Nasdaq Composite rose 0.2% to about 9911. The cause of the late selling was unclear. Stocks had held their ground earlier Wednesday as hopes for global fiscal and monetary stimulus offset a flurry of less-than-rosy news: coronavirus outbreaks in Beijing and the U.S., data showing Japanese exports down almost 30% in May from a year earlier, weaker-than-expected May housing starts in the U.S., and possible new regulatory scrutiny of social-media platforms.
DJIA 26,119.61 -170.37
S&P 500 3,113.49 -11.25
NASDAQ 9,910.53 14.66
US 10-Year Note 0.73 -0.02
Dollar Index 97.11 0.15
Crude Oil 37.73 -0.65
Gold 1,737.10 0.60
Global Dow 2,857.05 64.60
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Justice Department Proposes Limiting Internet Companies’ Protections
The Justice Department proposed a rollback of legal protections that online platforms have enjoyed for more than two decades, in an effort to make tech companies more responsible in how they police their content.

The department’s changes, unveiled Wednesday, are designed to spur online platforms to be more aggressive in addressing illicit and harmful conduct on their sites, and to be fairer and more consistent in their decisions to take down content they find objectionable, a Trump administration official said.

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U.S. Brands Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s to Change Amid Protests
Amid nationwide protests against racism, major U.S. food companies on Wednesday said they would change the Aunt Jemima and Uncle Ben’s brands, both of which feature African American mascots.

PepsiCo said it would end entirely the Aunt Jemima line of pancake syrup and batter adorned with the face of a black woman, while Mars plans to “evolve” the Uncle Ben’s brand of rice dishes that uses a black man as its logo.

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In Boon for Builder Stocks, Housing Market Shows Early Signs of a V-Shaped Recovery
If there’s a V-shaped recovery under way anywhere, it’s in the housing market. That’s despite slightly disappointing housing starts and building permits Wednesday.

The Commerce Department said housing starts rose 4.3% in May to an annual rate of 974,000, below the 1.10 million economists expected, while permits jumped 14.4% to a rate of 1.22 million, slightly lower than the estimate of 1.25 million. Housing-starts data are volatile from month to month and can be subject to large revisions. “We aren’t much bothered about the undershoot,” says Ian Shepherdson, chief economist at Pantheon Macroeconomics. “The outlook is very positive, given the astonishing surge in mortgage demand.”

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OPEC’s Outlook for Oil Demand Hasn’t Improved. That’s a Bad Sign for Oil.
Oil prices dropped on Wednesday after OPEC said it expects global oil demand to fall by 9.1 million barrels per day this year, the same demand outlook it gave last month. The fact that the outlook hasn’t improved—and is worse than the outlook by the International Energy Agency, or IEA—is a negative sign for oil’s rebound.

The Energy Information Administration also reported that the U.S. added 1.2 million barrels of crude oil to storage in the week ended June 12, even as analysts had expected a decline in inventories.

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Tesla Cracks $1,000 Again Despite Lousy State Sales Data
Tesla stock is rallying despite some lousy sales data from its home state of California. The upside-down stock reaction shows how investors aren’t focused on U.S. sales much anymore. Instead, they are looking to overseas markets to fuel Tesla’s rise.

New Tesla vehicle registrations in California fell about 37% year over year in April and May combined. But the stock isn’t reacting to the news. In fact, Tesla shares rose about 2.1% to more than $1,000 in midday trading Wednesday.

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Lyft’s Move Shows EVs Are Taking Over
Ride-hailing company Lyft is getting rid of gasoline-powered cars in its fleets by 2030. That’s the goal announced Wednesday. Batteries, and not gas, will power Lyft rides of the future.

The move isn’t doing much to lift Lyft, Uber Technologies, or EV-maker stocks today. But the news is another sign to investors that battery-powered cars are here to stay.

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Hertz Pulls Share Offering, Says SEC Planned to Review It
Hertz Global is suspending its controversial share offering, according to a filing Wednesday.

Hertz filed to offer up to $500 million in shares Monday, aiming to cash in on a surge in the stock’s popularity even though the company had filed for bankruptcy protection on May 22. In a filing Wednesday, Hertz said it had been “advised orally” by employees with the Securities and Exchange Commission’s division of corporation finance on Monday afternoon that they planned to review the offering’s prospectus supplement.

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How the Supreme Court’s Landmark LGBTQ Ruling Will Boost the U.S. Economy
The Supreme Court’s landmark ruling to extend federal workplace protections to gay and transgender employees nationwide is certain to boost the economy, analysts say.

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that employers cannot fire workers for being gay or transgender, a massive victory for LGBTQ workers and the gay rights movement. While the decision isn’t overtly an economic issue, it “gives the U.S. an international [economic] comparative advantage,” Paul Donovan, chief economist of UBS Global Wealth Management, wrote in a blog post. The economic impact “is potentially quite big,” extending secure employment to 5% of U.S. workers, he added.

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U.S. Steel Provides Disappointing Second-Quarter Outlook
United States Steel stock dropped after the company provided a disappointing look into second-quarter results.

U.S. Steel said it would lose about $315 million in Ebitda, short for earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. That amount excludes restructuring spending of about $100 million. Wall Street was looking for a loss of just $135 million.

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DraftKings Is Selling Shares After a Surge in Its Stock
DraftKings is taking advantage of its surging stock price to offer 33 million shares of stock in a deal that could raise $1.3 billion based on Tuesday’s closing price of $40.57.

In conjunction with the offering, the online sports gambling company gave stronger-than-expected revenue guidance for the second quarter of $70 million to $75 million, compared with a Morgan Stanley estimate of $52 million and a consensus projection of $42 million.

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