1. -- Stock Futures Turn Higher
Stock futures on Wall Street turned higher Friday as traders assessed the damage wrought by the coronavirus pandemic on the economy.
Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average were up 150 points, futures for the S&P 500 rose 15 points and Nasdaq futures gained 34 points.
Gilead warned that the report from the Financial Times included “inappropriate characterizations of the study,” and added that "the study results are inconclusive, though trends in the data suggest a potential benefit for remdesivir, particularly among patients treated early in disease."
Energy stocks were strong gainers Thursday after oil prices jumped sharply for a second day.
A report from the Labor Department that showed another 4.4 million U.S. workers filed for unemployment benefits last week - the five-week total has risen to 26 million - spoke to the economic toll the pandemic has taken on the U.S. economy.
"The scale of joblessness in the U.S. is clearly larger than other economies," said James McCann, senior global economist at Aberdeen Standard Investments. "This is partly due to the flexibility of the labor market, but also indicative of the problems the U.S. has had ensuring that firms hold onto their workers in the way other countries have through wage subsidies."
The House of Representatives, meanwhile, passed a $484 billion bill Thursday to help replenish a key fund to help small businesses maintain their payrolls during the coronavirus crisis.
The House voted 388-5 to clear the measure, which passed the Senate earlier this week and now goes to President Donald Trump for his signature. Trump has indicated he will sign the bill into law.
2. -- Verizon and American Express Report Earnings
American Express (AXP) - Get Report, the credit card and travel services giant, reported first-quarter adjusted profit that beat Wall Street expectations but set aside $2.6 billion to cover bad loans and card defaults amid the coronavirus pandemic.
Verizon Communications (VZ) - Get Report reported first-quarter profit that topped expectations but it pulled its full-year sales guidance after what it called a "significant" decline in customer activity linked to the pandemic.
The economic calendar Friday includes Durable Goods Orders for March at 8:30 a.m. ET and Consumer Sentiment for April at 10 a.m.
3. -- J.C. Penney in Talks for Bankruptcy Funding
The department store retailer is talking with existing lenders including Wells Fargo, Bank of America and JPMorgan Chase for debtor-in-possession financing that would keep J.C. Penney's operations funded during a court-supervised bankruptcy, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.
The loan package could total roughly $800 million to $1 billion.
A bankruptcy filing for J.C. Penney, which has been losing money for years, could take place within the next few weeks, the people told the Journal.
J.C. Penney isn't the only retailer suffering as the coronavirus pandemic forced the closure of its department stores. Macy's (M) - Get Report also is considered in financial difficulty and reports earlier this week said Neiman Marcus was preparing to seek bankruptcy protection.
4. -- Intel Slumps on Weak Second-Quarter Guidance
Intel (INTC) - Get Report, the giant chipmaker, reported first-quarter earnings and revenue that easily topped expectations but warned that second-quarter earnings would miss projections.
The stock was down 4.07% in premarket trading Friday to $56.64.
Adjusted earnings in the period were $1.45 a share, compared with 89 cents a year earlier, while revenue rose about 23% to $19.8 billion.
Analysts expected earnings of $1.28 a share on revenue of $18.67 billion.
However, Intel said it expects second-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.10 a share on sales of about $18.5 billion. Analysts had called for adjusted earnings of $1.20 a share on sales of $17.79 billion.
Intel, like many other companies, withdrew the full-year guidance that it shared three months ago, citing the “significant economic uncertainty” caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
5. -- Cincinnati Bengals Take LSU's Joe Burrow With No. 1 Pick in NFL Draft
The Cincinnati Bengals selected LSU quarterback Joe Burrow with the No. 1 pick in the NFL Draft on Thursday.
The Washington Redskins selected pass-rusher Chase Young from Ohio State with the second pick.
The 2020 NFL Draft was the first "virtual draft" in league history, conducted remotely as the coronavirus pandemic forced the separation of general managers, coaches and their lieutenants.