United, Ford, Amazon, Coronavirus - 5 Things You Must Know Friday

Investors fear a surge in the coronavirus could blunt a U.S. recovery; United and its pilots union reach a pact on voluntary furloughs; Ford could shut U.S. plants because of an engine shortage from Mexico.

Here are five things you must know for Friday, July 10:

1. -- Stock Futures Fall as Virus Surges 

Stock futures declined Friday as investors headed into the weekend grappling with uncertainty as new coronavirus cases in the U.S. surge.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 124 points, futures for the S&P 500 were down 12 points and Nasdaq futures fell 33 points.

“The market is concerned about the uptick in cases globally,” said Stephen Innes of AxiCorp. “Money is funneling into perceived safe areas of the market like tech, which should hold up broader indexes to a degree.”

The tech-heavy Nasdaq closed at an all-time high Thursday but the Dow and S&P 500 declined as another record for new coronavirus cases in the U.S. cast doubts on a speedy recovery for the economy.

The Dow finished down 361 points, or 1.4%, to 25,706, and the S&P 500 fell 0.56% to 3,152. The Nasdaq rose 0.53% to close at a record 10,547. 

Crude prices fell Friday after the International Energy Agency raised its oil demand forecast but warned that a resurgence of the virus was “casting a shadow over the outlook.” 

West Texas Intermediate crude oil, the U.S. benchmark, fell early Friday by 1.29% to $39.11 a barrel.

The economic calendar Friday includes the producer price index for June at 8:30 a.m. ET. Economists expect producer prices to have risen 0.4% in June, matching the gains for May.

2. -- Coronavirus - The Latest

The number of confirmed global cases of the coronavirus has risen to 12,272,098, according to the Johns Hopkins University, and deaths increased to 554,989.

The U.S. has 3,118,109 cases of the coronavirus, the most in the world, according to Johns Hopkins. Deaths in the U.S. have risen to 133,291, also the most in the world.

The United States reported about 60,000 cases on Thursday, setting a single-day record for the sixth time in 10 days, according to a database compiled by The New York Times.

At least six states set single-day case records on Thursday: Alabama, Idaho, Missouri, Montana, Oregon and Texas.

Texas set a record for the fourth consecutive day with more than 10,900 cases, the Times reported, while Bloomberg noted the state reported a record number of deaths for the third straight day, topping 100 for the first time. 

New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio ordered that all large events requiring a city-issued permit will be canceled through Sept. 30.

3. -- United and Pilots Union Reach Pact on Voluntary Furloughs

United Airlines  (UAL) - Get Report and the union that represents about 13,000 pilots reached a tentative deal for voluntary furloughs and early retirement in a cost-cutting effort as the coronavirus pandemic continues to severely reduce air travel.

The agreement is expected to be ratified by union leaders next week, CNBC reported, citing a note sent to union members.

United is the last of the four biggest U.S. carriers to reach an agreement with pilots.

The airline warned Wednesday it may have to cut 45% of its workforce, or 36,000 employees, if not enough people voluntarily accepted the buyout and early retirement offers.

“Unfortunately, this may not be the full extent of the furloughs, and we must be prepared for more based on the company’s plan to be 30% smaller next summer,” wrote Capt. Todd Insler, chairman of the United chapter of the Air Line Pilots Association, to union members Thursday.

United shares fell 3.05% in premarket trading to $29.25.

4. -- Ford Could Shut U.S. Plants Because of Engine Shortage From Mexico

Ford  (F) - Get Report may be forced to close some U.S. production facilities as early as next week if engines fail to arrive from Mexico.

Limits on industrial production in Chihuahua state due to the coronavirus pandemic could lead to shortages soon, Reuters reported, citing comments by Christopher Landau, the U.S. Ambassador to Mexico.

A Ford executive told Landau the automaker was worried about engine deliveries because Mexican authorities have limited industrial capacity to 50%, Landau said in a talk arranged by the Atlantic Council, according to the report.

“They’re saying that they’re going to start shutting down factories in the United States as of next week if they don’t get that rolling,” Landau said, according to the report.

Mexico Mexico has reported more than 33,500 deaths from Covid-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. That's the fifth highest death toll globally. 

5. -- Amazon Plans Stock Awards to Retain Zoox Employees

Amazon.com  (AMZN) - Get Report will offer at least $100 million in stock awards to retain the more than 900 employees of Zoox, the autonomous-vehicle startup that Amazon said last month it would be acquiring.

Reuters reported that Amazon can walk away from the deal if large numbers of Zoox workers turn down job offers from the online retail and technology giant.

Amazon said in June it would pay more than $1 billion to buy Foster City, Calif.-based Zoox, which has been working on perfecting driverless vehicle automation since 2018.