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Elon Musk, Simon Property, Boeing - 5 Things You Must Know Tuesday

Stock futures are higher; Elon Musk is reopening Tesla's California plant in defiance of coronavirus shutdown orders; Simon Property to reopen half its malls this week.

Here are five things you must know for Tuesday, May 12:

1. -- Stock Futures Rise Though Anxiety Grows Over New Coronavirus Cases

Stock futures were higher Tuesday even though an increase in new coronavirus infections dampened optimism surrounding efforts by many countries to reopen their economies.

Investors also were assessing rising trade tensions between the U.S. and China.

Contracts linked to the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 111 points, futures for the S&P 500 gained 10 points and Nasdaq futures were up 37 points.

Wuhan, the Chinese city where the pandemic began, reported a fresh outbreak of infections over the weekend, while South Korea saw an uptick of new virus cases. 

In the U.S., deaths from the virus were 80,684, according to Johns Hopkins University. States from New York to Georgia to Texas and California have begun taking steps to reopen their economies.

“All said, risk appetite is on the wane today. And that merely acknowledges that re-opening economies is riddled with risks; struggling between the devil and the deep blue sea,” said Hayaki Narita of Mizuho Bank.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and the nation’s top infectious disease expert, is expected to tell a Senate hearing Tuesday that Americans would experience “needless suffering and death” if the country opens up prematurely, The New York Times reported.

Meanwhile, the Trump administration moved late Monday to block investments in Chinese equities by the Thrift Savings Plan, a federal employee retirement fund. 

2. -- Tesla's California Plant to Reopen Despite Shutdown Orders

Tesla  (TSLA)  CEO Elon Musk said Monday he was reopening the electric carmaker's plant in Fremont, Calif., in defiance of local coronavirus shutdown orders and that he will be on the production lines.

"Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules. I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me," Musk said in a tweet.

The Tesla plant, the company’s only U.S. production facility, has been closed since the middle of March due to shelter-in-place orders designed to slow the Covid-19 pandemic. The orders were first imposed by county health officers in several San Francisco Bay Area counties, ahead of Calif. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s move to extend the measures statewide.

Alameda County officials, in a statement, said they were negotiating with Tesla on a plan to reopen the plant.

"We continue to move closer to an agreed upon safety plan for reopening beyond Minimum Basic Operations by working through steps that Tesla has agreed to adopt," the Alameda County Public Health Department said. "These steps include improving employee health screening procedures and engaging front-line staff on their concerns and feedback regarding safety protocols."

3. -- Simon Property Sees Half of Malls Reopened This Week

Shares of Simon Property Group  (SPG)  were rising 5.66% to $58.40 in premarket trading Tuesday after the biggest owner of malls in the United States said it plans to reopen half of its properties within the next week.

“We are now leading the effort for these local economies to get back to business,” CEO David Simon said during a conference call with analysts, CNBC reported. “We want to help these local communities ... because frankly they depend on our sales taxes.”

Simon Property said at the end of March it would be furloughing 30% of its workforce to cut costs as the coronavirus pandemic forced it to close all its malls on March 18.

The company said as of Monday it had reopened 77 of its properties in the U.S. It owns about 200 malls in the country.

4. -- Boeing CEO Expects Pandemic to Force Major U.S. Airline to Fold 

Boeing  (BA)  CEO David Calhoun told NBC in an interview that he expects a major U.S. airline “most likely” will go out of business because air travel has been crippled dramatically by the coronavirus pandemic.

In an interview with NBC that will be aired on Tuesday, Calhoun said: “Traffic levels will not be back to 100%. They won’t even be back to 25%. Maybe by the end of the year we approach 50%. So there will definitely be adjustments that have to be made on the part of the airlines.”

As for what U.S. carrier might go belly up, Calhoun didn't name names but said it was "most likely" that one will.

"You know, something will happen when September comes around," Calhoun said in the interview.

5. -- Consumer Price Index Highlights Tuesday's Calendar

The economic calendar Tuesday includes the Consumer Price Index for April at 8:30 a.m. ET. Consumer prices are expected to fall 0.8% in April vs. a 0.4% drop in March. Core CPI, which excludes food and energy prices, is expected to decrease 0.2% in April.

Total prices year over year in April are forecast at 0.5% vs. 1.5% in March. Core CPI year over year is seen by economists at 1.8% vs. 2.1% in March.

Earnings reports are expected Tuesday from Duke Energy  (DUK) , Potbelly  (PBPB) , Macerich  (MAC)  and Ingersoll-Rand  (IR)