Gold, Moderna, Qualtrics, Coronavirus - 5 Things You Must Know Monday

Gold surges to an all-time high amid worsening U.S.-China tensions; Wall Street prepares for a week heavy on tech earnings; Moderna secures an additional $472 million to develop a coronavirus vaccine.
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Here are five things you must know for Monday, July 27:

1. -- Stock Futures Rise, Gold Hits All-Time High

Stock futures rose Monday and gold surged to an all-time high amid a worsening relationship between the U.S. and China and as Wall Street prepared for a week heavy on tech earnings and a Federal Reserve meeting.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 109 points, S&P 500 futures were up 15 points and Nasdaq futures rose 100 points.

At last check, gold was jumping 2.16% to $1,938.40 an ounce as investors sought the safety of the precious metal as tensions rose between Washington and Beijing and as optimism over a recovery from the coronavirus pandemic waned.

Stocks in the U.S. declined last week after the Trump administration ordered China to close its consulate in Houston, and Beijing then ordered the U.S. vacate its consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu.

Doubts about an economic recovery also have been growing as a spike in coronavirus infections has again forced many businesses to close. Meanwhile, a $600 weekly supplement to jobless benefits ends this week and Congress has yet to agree on another coronavirus relief bill.

2. -- Apple, Amazon and Alphabet Report Earnings This Week

Hasbro  (HAS) - Get Report reported adjusted earnings that missed analysts' estimates and sales fell 29% on a pro forma basis in the second quarter as the coronavirus pandemic has led to store closures and product shortages.

The stock fell 9.74% to $70.03 in premarket trading.

Earnings reports are also expected Monday from Albertsons  (ACI) - Get Report, Mylan  (MYL) - Get Report and DISH Network  (DISH.) - Get Report

Companies reporting later this week include Apple  (AAPL) - Get Report, Amazon.com  (AMZN) - Get Report, Google parent Alphabet  (GOOGL) - Get Report, McDonald's  (MCD) - Get Report, Pfizer  (PFE) - Get Report, 3M  (MMM) - Get Report, Starbucks  (SBUX) - Get Report, Visa  (V) - Get Report, Advanced Micro Devices  (AMD) - Get Report, Boeing  (BA) - Get Report, General Electric  (GE) - Get Report, General Motors  (GM) - Get Report, Facebook  (FB) - Get Report, PayPal  (PYPL) - Get Report, Qualcomm  (QCOM) - Get Report, Comcast  (CMCSA) - Get Report, United Parcel Service  (UPS) - Get Report, Procter & Gamble  (PG) - Get Report, Ford  (F) - Get Report, Gilead Sciences  (GILD) - Get Report, Exxon Mobil  (XOM) - Get Report, Chevron  (CVX) - Get Report, Caterpillar  (CAT) - Get Report and Merck  (MRK) - Get Report.

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The economic calendar Monday includes Durable Goods Orders for June at 8:30 a.m. ET. Other data to be released this week include second-quarter GDP and weekly Jobless Claims. 

The Federal Reserve holds a two-day meeting with an announcement on interest rates scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

“The July FOMC meeting should kick off a period from August into mid-September in which markets should price in an increasingly dovish, forward-looking Fed policy via lower real rates,” strategists at Morgan Stanley wrote in a report. “This should benefit breakeven inflation rates, support risk assets, and weigh on the U.S. dollar.”

3. -- Moderna Gets Additional $472 Million to Develop Coronavirus Vaccine

Moderna  (MRNA) - Get Report was rising 8.44% to $79.39 in premarket trading Monday after securing an additional $472 million from the U.S. government to support its efforts to develop a coronavirus vaccine.

The funds, which would come from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority, would help bankroll the biotech company's late-stage clinical development, including its phase 3 clinical trial, of the potential vaccine.

An existing BARDA contract essentially had been modified after an earlier award from the authority for up to $483 million, bringing the total funding from the federal agency to about $955 million.

Moderna would use the funds for its potential vaccine known as mRNA-1273, which is planned to undergo a "significantly larger" phase 3 clinical trial. Expanding that trial left a gap in needed funding, Moderna said.

With the revised contract, Moderna said it could now conduct a trial with 30,000 people in the U.S.

“Encouraged by the Phase 1 data, we believe that our mRNA vaccine may aid in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic and preventing future outbreaks,” said Stephane Bancel, Moderna’s CEO, in a statement.

4. -- Coronavirus - The Latest

The number of confirmed global cases of the coronavirus has risen to 16,264,048, according to Johns Hopkins University, and deaths increased to 648,966.

The U.S. has 4,234,140 cases of the coronavirus, the most in the world, according to Johns Hopkins. Deaths in the U.S. have risen to 146,935, also the most in the world.

Confirmed cases in the U.S. from Saturday to Sunday rose by 65,965 in the latest daily count, according to Bloomberg, a 1.6% increase that was less than the 1.8% average over the previous seven days. Deaths rose by 921, breaking a four-day streak of more than 1,000 a day.

Florida reported 9,344 cases, a decline from the previous day when it passed New York to have the second-most infections after California. Deaths In Florida slowed to 77 from 124 the day before, Bloomberg reported.

5. -- SAP Plans Listing of Qualtrics Unit

German software giant SAP  (SAP) - Get Report plans to list shares of its Qualtrics survey-software unit in the U.S. less than two years after buying the company for about $8 billion.

SAP will retain a majority in Qualtrics after the public listing.

An IPO could value Qualtrics at as much as €16 billion ($18.7 billion), according to analysis from Bloomberg.